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Chrome Shelled Hetalia

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Chrome Shelled Hetalia

 

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been so long. And… I really, really, really apologize for posting a new story, but the idea wouldn’t leave me alone! D:

 

To the Hetalians: While you don’t have to have an understanding of Chrome Shelled Regios to get this fic, it is recommended for a richer experience. But if you do not know CSR, you can still understand and read this story.

 

To the Chrome Shelled Regios Peoples: An understanding of Hetalia is fundamental to be able to fully understand and enjoy this fic. The concept of personified nations is not something found only on CSR.

 

For those of you who are both: Great job! :D Let’s see how many references you get~!

 

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Hetalia or Chrome Shelled Regios. I only own my idea/portrayal of Italy. ^_~

           

Prologue

           

            “Ve~” Italy sighed happily, as he sank into his seat in the Meeting Room a bit more. I’m so happy… I did it… I really did it. And the world is none-the-wiser~ Now I can just forget it all~ It was all like some sort of bad dream… a nightmare…

He tuned back into the meeting just as America was wrapping up. “And that’s what I think we should do about Global Warming! Of course, because I’m the Hero, my idea is obviously the best!”

“You bloody git! I raised you better than that!” England shouted, tired and fed-up with the obnoxious American.

“That is ENOUGH!” Germany finally shouted, quieting the entire room. “Italien… It is your turn.” He stated with a sigh, not expecting anything other than a cry of ‘pasta~!’ from the airheaded Italian.

“Ve~ Okay, Germany~” Italy chirped, as he took the stand. He then started to give an actual presentation on the dangers of pollution AND the dangers of ‘going green’, and why and how they should deal with it, as well as the dangers of nuclear power plants and how to make them safer, if not remove them completely. It was obvious that he’d practiced it quite a lot, and the other nations were taken quite aback by the high intelligence that Italy was showing for once. Not one time, did the Italian even so much as mention any kind of food or food-related subject—he stayed on-topic the entire time, and gave fantastic arguments, counterarguments, and counter-counterarguments.

Suffice to say, the others were blown out of the water—even Romano. By the time Italy had finally finished his presentation, a full 45 minutes later, the room was left in silence. “Any questions or comments?” He asked, turning away from his PowerPoint to address the room.

“Wha–?! What the fuck, Veneziano?!” Romano finally cried out.

“Ve? Romano?”

“What the hell is going on with you?! Since when do you give an actual presentation?! Since when are your arguments this good and well-thought out?! Since when do you even have a fucking argument?!” Italy sighed.

“I meant questions or comments about my presentation…”

Nobody quite knew what to say. It’d been obvious for a few months, now (actually, about a year) that Italy was a bit… off. But nobody could quite place how. Moreover, Italy had been spending a great deal of time alone, something very unusual for the Italian. He’d even been disappearing for days or even weeks at a time, without a word to anybody, and to be honest, it scared Romano quite a bit; he knew how terrified Veneziano was of being alone—unless he was in his private lab working on something. Italy always wanted to be alone when he was working on a private project, unless he needed some help.

But this was the strangest that Italy had ever been. He’d seemed a bit off before—reserved, introverted a bit, quieter, and perhaps even a bit depressed—but he’d never shown this much intelligence or initiative around anyone other than his brother. And to be honest, it frightened the other nations.

“No? Well, then, that concludes my presentation. Grazie for being so attentive.” Italy finally stated as he took his seat again. Nobody made a sound.

Italy knew he’d probably—scratch that—absolutely sent the room into shock. After all, he hadn’t really been one to show off his intelligence before, so why would they expect him to show it now? He’d always been extremely smart. After all, many of the world’s greatest minds came from Italy, and a nation’s personification is affected greatly by the minds of their people. Italy however, had actually spent personal time with some of the greatest minds of his nation. He was always irritated at how the other nations thought he was just a cowardly, naïve, hetare weakling.

He’d secretly helped Galileo with his theories of the Sun being the center of the solar system, even when the church persecuted Galileo; he’d secretly helped his friend continue the research. Leonardo da Vinci was his best friend for decades, and they constantly worked together on many theories and theorems and paintings, and debated many things back and forth for hours with topics that would make anyone else’s heads spin! He’d even helped him come up with the idea for, and design of, the helicopter and calculator! Italy had even co-written The Divine Comedy with Dante Alighieri!

He was by no means, an idiot. He’d just always been afraid to show it… He’d just simply prioritized having friends, and didn’t want to risk them rejecting him because he was smarter than them. Romano was the only one who knew of his true intelligence, and even he didn’t know about everything that Italy had done.

The others seemed to finally find their voices, and started pelting Italy with all sorts of questions about what the hell was going on with him lately. Even Germany pointed out that he’d actually been applying himself in training. Not only that, but he’d been spending most of his time with Romano and Japan and Germany (not that the last one was too strange, but the fact that he was spending as much time with Romano and Japan as he was Germany was a bit unusual). Plus, he noticed Canada, and wasn’t afraid of England or Russia… Russia!

Italy, however, simply ignored the questions, and occupied himself with his papers, silently telling them that he refused to answer. That is, until a bright red flash interrupted the chaos. Everyone fell silent, expecting to hear some sort of alarm. After a few seconds, the light flashed again, but nobody could pinpoint its location.

Italy tensed unnoticeably, the red flash bringing back some not-so-good memories of other alarm systems… explosions... the sound of click, click… click… click… he shuddered; they weren’t pleasant… But more than that… This-! This is kei! It’s strong, too! He thought to himself in fear. But why? How?! Kei… It shouldn’t exist! Not anymore, not here!

Italy discreetly started to channel his own kei, subconsciously reaching for the small, rectangular device that was hidden in his pocket. Nobody noticed this, however, because with the next red flash of light, a miniature aurora formed above the meeting table.

If any of the nations had been looking at Italy, they would’ve seen him pale drastically to a sheet-white color, and his golden eyes open wide before narrowing into slits as he glared at the multi-colored lights.

“The fuck is this?!” Romano shouted, confused as hell.

“Dude, I don’t know, but it’s cool!” America shouted, grinning like a maniac.

“But what is it?” England asked, bewildered. America reached forward, as if to touch it, when Italy shouted out in a no-nonsense tone that, quite honestly, scared the shit out of the other nations, “Don’t touch it!” America froze, mid-reach.

“O-Oi… Fratellino?” But before anyone else could say anything, the light from the aurora grew brighter, and brighter, as the kei grew stronger and stronger. The nations had to shield their eyes, though Italy was keeping his guard way up (and using his observational kei to make extra sure of it).

They felt their chairs fade away, as they all fell into unconsciousness. This kei… it feels… familiar somehow… I’ve felt it somewhere before… But… I can’t… remember… Then, Italy knew no more.

 

Chapter Text

A/N: Hey guys! I decided that this story probably wasn’t getting enough views because the word count was too small, so I relented and uploaded the first Chapter. Please enjoy, and TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Do you want me to continue this story? Is it interesting? Do you like the idea? Please give me some feedback to work with. Onigai~!

DISCLAIMER: *Sigh* If I owned either of these, then I’m sure HetaOni would be a movie, and this would be the sequel… Fortunately for the feelz of the Hetalians, I own neither. Darn.

 

Chapter 1: Segreti

 

The first thing Italy became aware of upon awakening was the unique auras of the other nations. It took him only a split second to recognize France, Germany, Prussia, Japan, China, America, Canada, Russia, Romano, Spain, and England, and register the fact that they were all unharmed. The next thing he became aware of was a pounding headache. Ve! My head hasn’t hurt this bad since I was thrown through that wall! Finally, he registered that they were most certainly not in the Meeting Room anymore. Hell, they weren’t even in the same building anymore!

One after another, as the seconds passed, the others started waking up, much to his relief. Groaning, he eased himself into a sitting position, stretching his muscles, and checking himself over for damage. And thanks to his Internal Kei, his headache was already easing away.

“Where the hell are we?” Romano asked as he, along with everyone else, stood up, rubbing their heads.

Italy looked around the room. It was white, with no furniture, and no windows or doors. In fact, it wasn’t even a room, as much as it was an endless expanse of white. He realized that the entire area was saturated in kei energy. Now that he was aware of it, it seemed to hit him all at once, and he swayed slightly. He caught himself before anyone noticed, but it gave him one hell of a migraine, even with his Internal Kei helping. But what really scared him was that it held the same kei signature as the aurora.

A kei signature is as unique as a retina or fingerprint; everybody has their own kei signature, regardless of whether or not they can use/utilize/activate their kei, and regardless of whether or not they have a kei organ. Without kei, any living thing will die. It just wasn’t until—

“Mon dieu! Where are we?!” France cried out, cutting off Italy’s mental wanderings.

“How strange… It’s as if that aurora transported us somewhere…” England trailed off, but it made Italy gasp audibly, catching the other nation’s attention.

“Don’t tell me!” He gasped quietly.

“What? Do you know something, Veneziano?” Romano asked, suspicious.

“I… I think we’re inside the Aurora…” He trailed off, unable to fully comprehend it. The Aurora was, after all, an extremely powerful and mysterious thing, even to him. And he’d studied it extensively for centuries!

“That isn’t possible, aru! An aurora is simply the visualization of the Earth’s magnetic field, aru!”

“Then explain how it appeared in our Meeting Room? And how it was glowing?” Canada spoke up for the first time, startling the others.

Italy’s hand migrated towards his pocket again, as he sensed something approaching, but with the large and chaotic kei surrounding them, he couldn’t figure out what it was. Ve… But if we really are inside the Aurora… I hope I don’t have to use that spell… I don’t want to go through that again… and using that power could kill me… Permanently.

Italy’s eyes narrowed as it came closer… closer…… closer……… Finally, he could see something. Ve! It’s… Saya…?” Italy breathed out in shock. He’d expected a monster, a fairy, a person, but the last thing he’d expected, was Saya.

“Italien, what is a ‘saya?’” Germany asked, having heard Italy, but unable to see Saya yet, as she was too far away for the other nations to see.

Italy remained stubbornly silent, though mostly from shock of seeing Saya again, he didn’t take his eyes off of her. Ve… How? Did I mess up? Was it all a dream?

By the time Saya finally reached them, they all fell silent. Before them, stood a girl, with long black hair, and dark eyes. Her face was expressionless, but Italy could tell she was both happy and displeased.

“Saya.” Italy stated, surprising the others.

“You know her?” Spain asked.

“Feliciano… Feli. Celestial Blade Wielder. My dear friend.”

“Saya, what are you doing here? Where is here? When is here?”

“Feli… You once trusted me with the Heaven’s Blades… With your friendship, and with your protection… You gave me the opportunity to be human again, and feel. I wish to repay my debt to you… But I cannot. I wish to help you instead. You carry a large burden… You hurt inside, and can share it with none.” Italy’s eyes widened as he realized what she was planning.

“Saya, don’t tell them! Please!” He cried out desperately, but she shook her head, as the other nations looked on in concern, curiosity, and suspicion. What was it that Italy was so desperate to hide? And why?

“I will not tell them.” Italy only tensed. “I will show them… your memories… the past… their future…” Saya whispered to him.

What?! No! I can’t! I’d rather tell them! I don’t want them to see!”

“You must… I’m so sorry, Feli… But… I cannot allow you to carry this burden alone anymore. You must understand; if it is truly to be prevented, they must understand as well.” Italy and Saya locked eyes, and in that instant, Italy saw flashes of a ruined world… Of what would happen if they failed to understand.

“It won’t be overnight, like before, but it will happen if they don’t understand… If they don’t see.” She continued. Italy closed his eyes with a heavy sigh. A single tear ran down his cheek, as the nations looked on, confused as fuck, and worried as hell.

“Okay…” he finally relented. Saya gave a small smile, the first expression they’d seen the strange ethereal girl make.

“Thank you, Feli. I cannot control which memories will be viewed… Only the Aurora can decide what is important enough…”

“So we are inside of it?”

“Yes.”

“Is there any chance of encountering a Contaminoid?” Italy asked seriously, his eyes golden slits, as if ready to fight at a moment’s notice; though luckily for him, the other nations were at just the right angle to miss his expression, though they heard the seriousness in his voice.

“Perhaps… I’ve put my protection up around you and your friends, but I must return to Glendan… my protection here will be weaker than usual, so please be prepared… just in case.”

“Right.” He said, with a sharp nod, before he looked up in surprise. “Ve? Glendan?! But it doesn't exist anymore!” Italy cried out in surprise. “Unless…?”

“Yes. They’re separate. They both exist. The Aurora is the in-between, able to transcend time and space… It is the only way I can communicate with you now… It’s how it happened the first time…”

“I see…” Italy’s eyes closed again in thought.

“I must go…” Saya reminded him gently.

“Ve… Okay. Ciao, Saya. I’ll miss you… And grazie, for keeping me from making another mistake.” Italy whispered. Saya simply nodded her head, a simple, tiny smile on her face, but only Italy could see it. She then vanished in a spray of multicolored aurora light.

All was silent for about twenty seconds, before Romano finally exploded. “WHAT THE FUCKING HELL WAS THAT, VENEZIANO?! WHAT THE CRAP IS GOING ON?! HUH?! WHO WAS THAT GIRL, HOW DO YOU KNOW HER, AND WHAT THE MOTHERFUCKING CRAP WERE YOU TWO JUST TALKING ABOUT?! HUH?!” Romano ranted, frustrated, scared, and beyond confused.

“Hai, Itary-kun… I would greatly appreciate an explanation.” Japan added quietly, yet firmly.

Italy sighed and looked everyone in the eye, his own eyes actually open for once. “I don’t need to explain,” He held up his hand to stop their outbursts, “because I’m going to show you.”

“Show us…?” Canada asked quietly. Italy nodded his head.

“Si. I’ll show you… My past… your future…” Before anyone could ask him what he meant, the 12 of them were surrounded by an icy-blue-white glow that was tinged with spring greens and sunny yellows, though the wintry blue was prominent. It grew brighter and brighter, until everyone had to shield their eyes from the light.

When they were finally able to see again, they found themselves in an alleyway. Italy’s eyes widened as he realized what memory this was.

“Fuck… I don’t want to see this again…” He muttered under his breath, but Romano heard, and thwacked his head. “Oi! I’m the only one allowed to use that sort of fucking language, damnit!”

“Ve! We’ll you’re going to hear a lot more than that, fratello! Trust me…” He trailed off somewhat sadly, as they watched another Italy enter the alley.

“Woah! Dude! Is that you?!” America asked.

“Si. That’s the me from the past. This was about a year ago to you…”

“To… us…?” Japan asked, confused.

“Just… just watch.” Italy stated firmly, masking his inner turmoil.

“Ve~ It’s been awhile since I’ve been down this entrance~ I think the last time was when I was showing Leo around~ Ve… that was fun…” Past Italy stated, a melancholy smile on his face.

“Leo…?” Germany asked, confused.

“Leonardo da Vinci. He was my good friend, and I told him that I was a nation. We’d spend lots of time together~ I remember when I first proposed the idea of the helicopter! He was so sure it wouldn’t work~ Then I showed him my blueprints~ Hehe~ The look on his face was hilarious~!” Italy giggled a bit, mostly trying to relieve the anxiety he felt at what they were about to witness…

“WAIT! You invented the helicopter?!” Germany blurted out.

“Wait, wait, wait! You were best friends with Leonardo da Vinci?!” Prussia tacked on. The other nations were all rather shocked at this information. For one, it completely disproved their idea that Italy was an idiot. For another, it proved that he really was much more observant than they thought. Whoops on their part.

Feliciano (we’ll just call Past Nations by their human names, from now on) ran his finger down a hairline crack in the brick wall of the alley’s dead end. The nations watched in awe as the wall started separating, revealing a hidden tunnel.

“DUDE! THAT’S SO COOL! I WANT ONE!” America shouted.

“Ve… By the way, if anyone but Romano and myself try that, you’ll just end up triggering one of the numerous traps.” They looked between a smirking Romano and a smirking Italy, but wisely said nothing.

They watched as Feliciano walked through the tunnels, the torches along the walls lighting his way. “The torches work off of the natural energy of my nation, so when it senses the energy of a nation nearby, particularly one of Italian decent, as with me and Lovi, they’ll light themselves. No fuel needed. These are Grandpa Rome’s tunnels, by the way. They stretch across any land that my Grandfather used to control.” Italy finished, leaving the other nations in a not-sure-if-I-should-be-impressed-or-scared-shitless type of state.

Feliciano made his way through the complex maze-like tunnels—taking so many twists and turns that none of the others could even begin to remember the path—until finally, they came upon a door, which wasn’t all that unusual from what they’d seen. The only thing that made this door different from the countless other doors that they’d already seen, was that Feliciano actually went through this one.

“Umm…” Nobody quite knew what to do. Feliciano had gone through the door, but he’d closed it before they could go through. “Great, now what?!” Romano shouted.

“Ve~ Romano, calm down, this is a memory, remember? We can’t touch anything here. Watch.” Italy stated, walking through the wooden door. The other nations simply stood there, not quite sure how to accomplish what they’d just seen; their self-preservation instincts telling them that, yes, a door was, in fact, a solid object, and that, no, they could not, actually, walk through it. After a few seconds, Italy’s head popped through the door, startling the others—and freaking a few out.

“Well? What are you waiting for, an invitation? Come on.” Then he disappeared through the door again. Japan was the first one to make a move, walking calmly through the door, and disappearing the same way as Italy. The others followed soon after.

The room was about the size of a small living room, but it seemed much smaller due to the 2 desks that were overflowing with books and papers. Open books and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pages of notes of everything ranging from checklists and poems and doodles to complex scientific formulas and mechanical blueprints were scattered all around the room. It was a mess. The only ‘clean’ area was the right side of the room, where it seemed to be divided into two sections; one with a long table and two curious devices, and the other with a few smaller tables and a desk with some microscopes and biology and botany books and notes.

“What is this?” England breathed out in awe, as he looked at some of the notes. He couldn’t understand any of them.

“This is my private research lab. I work on all my personal projects here.” Italy answered.

“W-what?!” Germany shouted out in shock.

“Itary-kun…? What is this?” Japan asked, examining the curious devices on the long table. The two devices looked just like each other. The base seemed to be a round white disk of some sort, about the size of a dinner plate, with a black ring around the outer edge, and another black ring around the inner edge. There were three silver rings somehow floating above each disk, each one hovering about 6 inches above the one below it. There was a strange hum of energy coming from them…

“Oh? Those are a little pet-project of mine~ They’re teleportation devices~!”

“Nani?! Teleportation?! Sugoi! How far are you?” Japan had been working on his own teleportation technology for a while, but he hadn’t gotten far enough for a working prototype yet.

“Ve~ Those two are prototypes, as you’ve probably already guessed. They worked, too, but only with inanimate objects, and only over a short distance. I hadn’t gotten them to work any farther than 3.256 feet away from one another. Any farther apart, and the object that it was teleporting would start to either deform during the journey, or lose parts of itself. I was still working on fixing that at this point in time, but it wouldn’t teleport anything alive yet. Poor moth… and mouse…” Italy stated, remembering how hard he’d been working on them before he’d gotten distracted with the other project.

“Wow! You’ve done all that yourself, aru?! That’s amazing!” China cried out, speaking for the whole room. Romano remained quiet; knowing full well how much time Italy could spend down there, working for days on end on these projects of his, hardly taking the time to use the restroom, let alone eat.

“Grazie~ But I’d gotten distracted with another project…” Italy trailed off, knowing that his past self would explain.

“Ve~ Romano~ What are you doing here? I thought we agreed that this was my area?” Feliciano stated, grabbing the attention of the other nations. They only then noticed that Past Romano (or Lovino as we’ll call him) was sitting at one of the desks, reading through some of the research papers.

“I see you’ve gotten much farther on the teleportation prototypes. Good job. Let me know if you need any other mice or rats.” Lovino stated calmly, not looking up from the papers.

“Romano… Why are you here? You don’t see me letting myself into your private lab.” Feliciano raised an eyebrow.

“Wait, you have a lab, too Lovi?” Spain asked.

“Chigi! Of course I do! I may not be as scientifically inclined as Veneziano, but I invent stuff too! I just deal with geology and biology more than technology and astronomy, like Veneziano. I’m also pretty damn good with engineering, if I do say so myself.”

“Si~ Fratello’s the best when it comes to geology and biology~ Botany, too~! And he’s a genius at mechanics~!” The others stared between the two Italians. Why hadn’t they noticed this before? Just how smart were the Italy Twins?

“Wait!” Romano suddenly shouted, turning to Italy. “I don’t remember this! The fuck?! This is your memory, right? So why the crap can’t I remember this?!”

The others look between Romano and Italy with raised eyebrows.

“Ve… You may not believe me, but… I’m actually…” He became very interested in poking his pointer fingers together. “From the future…” Silence.

“What…?” Romano breathed, his ability to detect lies told him that Veneziano was telling the truth, even while his logic was saying something along the lines of, ‘there’s no fucking way he could’ve time traveled! That sort of technology isn’t even close yet!’

“I said… I’m from the future. I traveled back in time to prevent...” He stopped, a look of grief overcoming his features.

“Prevent what…?” Prussia asked tentatively, not sure if he wanted to know. Italy looked down, his bangs shadowing his eyes.

“The apocalypse.” He answered, his voice void of all emotion.

“Wha-what?! You mean zombies, explosions, the world freezing over?! That stuff?!” America shouted. The other nations would usually laugh it off like some sort of joke, but with how odd Italy had been acting this past year or so… plus seeing the past—future?—like this…

“Heh… No zombies, but there were plenty of explosions…” Italy stated darkly. “You’ll see it firsthand here… So just wait, okay?” He turned his attention back to his old lab—his old self.

Lovino sighed, causing the group to turn their attention back to the memory, as they continued to digest the new information. “Veneziano. You’ve been locking yourself away in your lab for the past 4 months! And don’t think I didn’t notice you taking some botany books from our library and my private laboratory! What’s this new project about? You’ve been working on the teleportation prototype nonstop for years, now, and I know you’re not the kind of person to leave a project unfinished to work on something else unless it was either more interesting or more important. So spill.”

“Ve~ Look at this, Vino.” Feliciano said, holding up a strange flower. It was very pretty; it looked like a cross between a stargazer lily, a hibiscus, and a rose, and it was purple, green, blue, red, yellow, and fuchsia, but the colors were all swirled together in some sort of complex, precise tie-dye pattern. It almost resembled a galaxy.

“What the…?” Lovino and Romano breathed at the same time, both of them wondering what the hell was up with the strange flower. “What did you do to it?”

“It’s natural.” Feliciano stated. Lovino started drooling over the flower, as he took a few steps closer to get a better look.

How? Those aren’t natural markings, unless it’s some sort of…” Lovino trailed off as he looked up suspiciously at Feliciano, Romano doing the same with Italy. “Veneziano, where did you find this?”

“It’s a mutation. Of what, I’m not quite sure. It’s an entirely new type of flower in a genus all its own. It may have been something else once, but it appears to have been mutated at an anatomical level, and thus created an entirely new species of flower. I don’t have a name for it yet, but it has some very interesting pollen...”

Where did you find it? Don’t try to change the subject on me, Veneziano.” Lovino warned.

“Ve… I sort of found it near a nuclear power plant in America…”

“You what?! Veneziano, you know how I feel about nuclear power plants! They’re dangerous! That’s why we both agreed to remove them from our nation entirely!”

“I know, Vino! I know! But it’s so interesting! The flower’s mutation is caused by the nuclear upset near the plant! Look!” Feliciano practically shoved Lovino towards the microscope. He glanced into it for a moment before turning back to Feliciano, fully intending to give him a lecture, when he stopped quite suddenly and whirled around for a double take, staring into the microscope with newfound interest.

“What the fuck?! This is–! What the hell am I looking at?” Lovino exclaimed, as Romano looked intrigued. He could usually identify any plant or pollen on-sight through a microscope. If his past-self was this confused… He’d ask Veneziano to show him the specimen later, though his hands were twitching at the thought of examining the flower in-depth… He was a botany-nut, and proud of it!

“It’s the pollen from the flower. I’ve run quite an extensive amount of experimentation on it. It’s not harmful to humans or nations, but it does travel unbelievably fast by air. If my calculations are correct, then it can travel from one side of America to the other—coast-to-coast—in ten minutes or less, regardless of wind levels.”

“What?!” Lovino and Romano looked at Italy and Feliciano in shock.

“But how?! That shouldn’t be possible!” Romano shouted, echoing his past self.

“I’m not entirely sure yet… But get this! It grows all over the world, but only near nuclear power plants! At least, from what I’ve seen...”

“Woah… Do… Do you think I could have a few samples?” Lovino asked, practically drooling at the flower that Feliciano was holding. Spain let out a whisper of “So adorable~! Kya~!” But even their Romano was too caught-up in the idea of examining the flower to hear Spain; much to the endless amusement of the other nations.

“Sure~ I’ve got quite a few, and every flower’s design is unique! Here.” He set five carefully preserved and bottled flowers on the table for Lovino to choose from. Lovino grabbed one, muttering a quick “Grazie” before grabbing Feliciano by the wrist, and proceeding to drag him out into the tunnel.

Italy suddenly tensed, knowing what was about to happen.

“Fratello? Where are we going?” Feliciano asked, calm yet slightly miffed, as if this kind of thing happened often.

“Idiota! You haven’t eaten in two days! You only rest from your research once every 2-4 days, and that’s just to sleep in an actual bed instead of on your desk and notes. I’m making you some pasta.” Lovino stated, as Feliciano fell into step beside him.

“You don’t eat, aru?! That’s not good!” China shouted, annoyed. Of all people, Italy was the last person they would expect to get too caught up in something to even eat.

“Yeah… The idiota once went 2 ½ weeks without eating anything before I finally dragged him home and force-fed him pasta.” Romano grumbled.

“You had to force-feed Italy Pasta!?” Germany repeated; his mind unable to comprehend that Italy wouldn’t want pasta in any situation.

“Yeah… he only gets like that when he’s really into his research, or really into a painting… I remember one time he actually ate the paint by mistake when he was working on one of his portraits. He’d been working on it for 6 days straight, no sleep, and no food, and somehow mistook the paint for food.”

“That was one time, fratello! And I keep a mini-fridge and pantry in there, now, so I do eat when I paint!”

“Hmm… Maybe we should put one in the lab, then? Nah, then you’d never come out.”

“Oh, like you’re any better when you’re on a roll? I remember one time when you locked yourself in your lab for almost a month with nothing but a handful of granola bars and a pack of water! I had to actually pick the lock to drag you out, and found you passed out on the floor from hunger!” Italy shot back, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah, well, at least I don’t drool all over my research notes!”

“Yeah?! Well at least I bothered to put a bathroom in my lab!”

“You said you’d never mention that again!” Romano screeched, blushing like mad. It wasn’t his fault that he was so into his research that he didn’t have time to use the restroom! He’d kept those adult diapers down there for a reason… He just hadn’t expected Veneziano to find them…

“Mention what?” Italy replied innocently.

“You are infuriating.” Romano growled.

The other nations just stared dumbfounded. They’d never seen the Italy twins act this way before. Sure, they’d seen them fight, but never banter with each other in such a teasing and brotherly manner before. They’d always assumed that the brotherly relationship was simply one-sided. That Romano could care less what his younger brother did, as long as he didn’t get hurt.

It seemed that there was a lot more to their relationship with one another than anyone else thought possible. The only exception was Spain, who raised Romano, and knew how close the brothers truly were. He’d been there, along with Austria and Hungary, when the two brothers were reunited after hundreds of years apart, with nothing but letters as a means of communication between the two. It had been such a breathtaking, touching brotherly moment that he couldn’t help but let Romano go… no matter how much it hurt… At least he came back.

“Ve~ Grazie Romano~ I suppose I’ll work better after I get something to eat other than a granola bar.” Feliciano stated, catching the attention of the future nations again, but Italy tensed.

“Veneziano…?” Romano asked quietly, concerned by his brother’s edginess. Italy only gripped his brother’s arm, needing the comfort of his touch. This only served to worry Romano more; Veneziano, while he typically acted like a coward, was always emotionally strong around others, even if he didn’t seem it. He was the kind of person that hid his emotional pain and turmoil until it ate him from the inside out enough to cause a breakdown, or until Romano dragged it out of him. Veneziano never sought emotional comfort like this unless he was truly terrified.

Romano discreetly brought his twin into a comforting one-armed embrace.

“Yeah… But we’ll eat fast, okay?” Lovino stated, holding up the encased flower. “I can’t wait to—” But whatever Lovino was going to say was cut off by the sound of an explosion, and the tunnel shaking. It shook so much, that Feliciano and Lovino had to lean against the walls to keep from falling over.

The nations all looked around, startled. “The fuck?!” Romano shouted, frightened, tightening his hold on his brother. Italy, on the other hand, closed his eyes tightly and covered his ear with his free hand, his other hand cutting off the blood flow to Romano’s arm (Italy had to keep aware of his grip, though, so as to not break his brother’s arm). This experience… had caused a phobia for Italy. Any type of explosion or shaking while in a confined space made him panic, as he was doing now.

Romano brought his brother into his chest, doing his best to comfort his terrified twin. Italy was shaking so hard that it honestly looked like he was being shaken by the quake in the tunnel.

Japan was the first to notice. “Itary-kun?! Daijobu?!” Japan’s worried cry caught the attention of the other nations.

“Veneziano, calm down. Take a deep breath, and calm down. I’m here. I’ve got you. You’re safe. It’s not really happening.” Romano spoke softly and comfortingly, while rubbing his brother’s back, as the shaking of the tunnel got worse. Rocks started falling down from the ceiling.

Italy let out a whimper and crouched down in a fetal position, taking Romano to the ground with him, as he tried to block the whole thing out. He gripped his brother in a death-hug, clinging desperately to him to ground himself to reality.

Giant carnivorous insects that primarily feast on human flesh? No problem. Explosions while in an underground tunnel? He’d rather eat his boot—no, scratch that—he’d rather eat England’s cooking for a month.

Romano continued to hold Italy in a gentle, yet firm embrace, as the golden-eyed Italian clung to his fratello like a lifeline. Romano continued to mutter soothingly to his fratellino, while trying to keep himself from panicking due to the overwhelming fear traveling through their mental link. He sent as many soothing thoughts and emotions and memories through their link as he could to try to calm Veneziano down.

It was then that the tunnel collapsed around them; Italy flinched badly when it did. The others cried out, trying to dodge the falling rocks, only to have said rocks pass through them harmlessly. They shivered, still not used to the whole intangible thing…

It was completely silent as the dust floated around them… Italy had finally calmed down, muttering an apology for his behavior, and a near-silent thank you to his fratello, whom he still clung to.

“It’s alright, Itary-kun. It must’ve been a traumatic experience for you…” Japan stated, trying to comfort his friend.

“S-si… Ever since then, I’ve had this fear of being trapped in a small space… not like claustrophobia, but more like being in a confined area while it’s shaking… I can’t even handle elevators sometimes…” He trailed off, finally pulling away from his brother a bit and standing up, though he kept a firm grip on Romano’s arm, not that Romano minded—he himself kept an arm around his younger twin.

Veneziano’s reaction had terrified him—they’d all been through war before. They’d all seen and lived through explosions and bombings and whatnot as well. Hell, they’d lived through two World Wars, and while they all had some sort of PTSD for awhile, Nations were mentally stronger than humans, and they were able to recover after awhile. But never before had any Nation had such a bad reaction like this… to even be afraid of elevators? There had to be more to Veneziano’s fear than a cave-in. Though, to be fair, reliving the experience that caused that fear probably had something to do with why the reaction was so strong… but still… to induce an actual phobia or permanent fear in a Nation? That was almost unheard of! Especially in a Nation as old and experienced as Veneziano…

“Mein Gott…” Germany trailed off as the dust finally settled enough for them to see the damage. The whole tunnel hadn’t collapsed, but the middle of the tunnel, where Feliciano and Lovino had been walking, was nothing more than a pile of rocks and rubble. It didn’t seem like they were at street-level, though… they were still definitely underground in the tunnel network.

Movement caught their attention as Lovino, bloodied and bruised, dragged himself from the rubble, into the part of the tunnel that had survived. “Fuck! What the hell was that?! Not an earthquake… But… damn!” He started coughing up blood, and he kept his weight off his left ankle. His right wrist also looked either sprained or broken, but beyond that, they couldn’t tell what his other injuries were.

“Veneziano?! Where are you!?” Lovino shouted, not bothering to hide the splash of panic in his voice. “Don’t you dare fucking die on me, fratellino…” He muttered under his breath.

“Wait a minute, mon ami! I thought that this was your memory? So why can we see this even when you’re not ‘ere?” France spoke up.

“Ve… I’m guessing that Saya did something that allows us to see beyond what I experienced. That, or it’s just another mystery of the Aurora that I’ll never know…” Italy sighed, still quivering slightly, but visibly calmer.

Before they could comment on anything, Feliciano’s voice caught their attention. “Vino! I need help! My leg’s stuck!” The whole group ran with Lovino towards the cry, and found Feliciano, bloody and banged up and dusty just like his brother, trying to pull himself out of the rubble. His left arm was bent at an odd angle and looked to be causing him great pain, and he also seemed to be having trouble breathing.

Japan, Germany, and America all went to help Lovino pull Feliciano out of the rubble, but realized that they just passed right through him. Romano just tightened his grip on Veneziano, as if to remind himself that he was still there.

“Memory, remember?” Italy reminded them. China looked frustrated that he couldn’t treat, or even properly check their injuries, as the others looked frustrated that they could do nothing to help.

“What was that?” Feliciano asked after Lovino had finally managed to help him out of the rubble.

“The hell should I know?!” Lovino then sighed, and carefully helped Feliciano to his feet. “Here, let’s try to get back up to ground level.” Feliciano nodded his head, wincing as he did so, as they supported each other back through the tunnels and towards the surface.

Several times, they had to go around collapsed tunnels and dig through cave-ins, but after what felt like hours, they finally came to a wall. The other nations thought that maybe they’d hit their heads a bit hard, and were lost, or perhaps the detours had turned them around, but Lovino proved them wrong when he slid his finger down an almost non-existent crack in the wall. It slid open like the entrance did.

The other nations expected sunlight, fresh air, ash, smoke, perhaps evidence of bombings, but nothing could’ve prepared them for what they saw.

“Mon Dieu…” France breathed, as the other nations all let out similar expressions of horror in their native tongues.

“Ro-Romano…? What happened?” Feliciano gasped out, unable to comprehend what he was seeing. Lovino and Romano were in similar states of shock.

The entire city before them, lay covered in a thick layer of ash, dust, and who-knows-what-else. Buildings lay in rubble, and people were crying in shock, anguish, pain, and grief, trying to make sense of what was going on around them… of what had just happened. Car alarms and sirens filled the air, as emergency personal did their best to help whoever they could. Buildings lay in rubble while others remained half-collapsed.

Romano finally understood why Veneziano had developed such a strong fear as he had… The collapsing of the tunnel was terrifying enough, but to see something like this immediately afterwards…? Subconsciously, Veneziano had associated the two with one another—and justly so—and it only served to intensify the fear… Then if you add in the pain…

“Fratello…?” Feliciano started weakly. Lovino gave a noncommittal grunt, still in shock himself. “I think…” He had to pause to cough up some blood, as the memory around them darkened considerably, startling the others. “How many people did we lose…?” He asked in a tired, almost broken voice. Lovino looked around them, the disaster seeming unreal… “I… don’t know… I can’t tell our physical injuries from our nation ones… But… I’d guess probably a few thousand… perhaps more…”

“I’d say about 100,000 or more…” Feliciano whispered as he coughed up some more blood, Lovino doing the same. They slid down the alley’s wall, side by side, as the memory continued to darken. “Our nation connection… it seems muted… I don’t think we’ve received the full brunt yet…” Feliciano muttered again, as Lovino hummed quietly in agreement.

“What…?” One of the other nations whispered, but nobody paid them any attention, too horrified at the scene before them.

“Fratello…?” Feliciano asked again, barely conscious; his voice sounded far away to the observing nations. “What are we going to do?”

There was a pause, and for a moment, they thought that maybe Lovino had fallen asleep. “Rest… We’ll rest for now, and figure out what happened tomorrow…” He trailed off as the memory finally faded to black.

 

 

Edited: 04/18/2019

Chapter Text

A/N: Hey guys! I’ve been in a bit of an updating mood lately, so I decided to give you the next chapter. Thanks to all those (3) of you who reviewed and those of you who favorited/followed! It means a lot to me! I hope you enjoy this new (and extra long) chapter~! It should (hopefully) make you cry~! :D YAY~!

 

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Hetalia or Chrome Shelled Regios.

 

 

Chapter 2: Verità

 

They found themselves in that same white expanse as before. “What… did we just see?” England asked, still trying to comprehend the destruction that they’d witnessed.

“The beginning of the end.” Italy said. “That was the start of the apocalypse.”

“The start? That was only the start?!” Prussia yelled out, not wanting to believe that it had actually happened.

“Si…”

“Wait… If that was something that jumpstarted the end of the world, then I am thinking that it was a bit small, Da?” Russia finally spoke up; making a few nations who’d forgotten that he was there, jump.

“The explosion that you saw didn’t occur in Italy.”

“WHAT?!” They all cried.

“But! How?! You mean to tell me that that explosion happened in another country?! What could possibly make an explosion that big?! That’d kill thousands of people in an entirely different country in an instant?!” America shouted out in shock.

“Ve… I’ll explain from the beginning, since I doubt that it’ll be explained through the memories.” Italy finally relented, gesturing for the others to sit down on the ground with him, his brother still keeping his hold on him, for which Italy was secretly grateful. “The blast was centered in America.” The entire room went still, as America paled drastically.

“What…? But… me?! I… caused that? Bu–! But, how…?” America shook a little, reminding the other nations just how young he really was compared to the rest of them.

“It wasn’t your fault. I’ll explain. It was one of your nuclear power plants. Something malfunctioned in one of your power plants in Tennessee… That flower that I was researching before? Its pollen reacted violently with the power plant’s failure, and the molecular structure was changed by the direct radioactivity. It basically became the trigger for every nuclear power plant in the world. The pollen was small enough to sneak its way into the plants themselves. Once it got in, the pollen would destabilize the nuclear reactors and cause an explosive meltdown. And due to how fast the pollen travels when airborne, it… It set off every nuclear power plant you had, America… In less than 5 minutes, your entire nation was obliterated. The land itself was blown apart into small, uninhabitable island chains… and the pollen spread all over the earth, setting off every nuclear power plant around the globe.” The nations all paled, very glad that they were already sitting.

“America died instantly… France was heavily injured, but managed to survive… Japan managed to be alright, somehow… but… Most of Europe was obliterated like America was. A rather large chunk of Northern Italy was blown off the map, too… Everything… everyone from France—including a large chunk of Eastern Spain—eastward to Ukraine—the UK and, as I said before, a large chunk of Northern Italy included—was completely and utterly destroyed… though a handful of the European Nations managed to survive… Somehow.”

Italy took a shaky breath to steady himself again. “Billions of people died in the span of 10 minutes… Countless more would die over the next few months and years due to radiation poisoning…” He trailed off. “Did you know? Nations are immune to direct radiation poisoning. At least… we were… Constant exposure will eventually affect us just as it would a human.”

“I take it you found this out the hard way?” Romano finally asked, finding his voice again.

“Sort of… It wasn’t me, but… Ve…” He looked down, losing himself in the memories for a moment, before looking back up again.

The others just stared… They couldn’t believe what they’d just been told… what they’d just seen. The apocalypse?! Caused by nuclear power plants, of all things… It was their fault… All their fault…

“If… if it was that bad… then shouldn’t you two have been more injured, aru?” China asked quietly.

“The radioactive pollen somehow messed with our connection to our nation. It still came, but it was just… delayed. It wasn’t for another three days that we finally felt the full effects.” Italy stated, shuddering slightly, as his hand traveled to his left side.

Before anyone else could say anything, another memory faded into existence. They found themselves in a rather calm and—to some—familiar living room, though the only light-source was the fire in the fireplace.

“Ve… This is one of the few houses that we owned that survived the blast…” Italy whispered, knowing full well exactly what they were about to witness.

“Veneziano…?” Romano asked quietly, though it was so silent that everyone heard.

“It… This is three days after the Initial Blast… It was when the full force of our connection…” He trailed off as the others paled.

“Romano…?” Feliciano asked as he walked into the room, only for Lovino to sit up from the couch he was laying on. Lovino’s left ankle was securely wrapped, along with his right wrist; they were obviously sprained. Both brothers had some bandages wrapped around their heads, and Feliciano moved gingerly—apparently he had some cracked ribs—his left arm in a sling, and his right ankle wrapped up.

“Shut up! I don’t feel very good… I think the connection’s finally coming through again. Damnit. Stupid fucking thing…” Lovino muttered as he lay back on the couch. “I wish the fucking electricity was working. Damnit! What I wouldn’t give for a nice cold glass of water! Is that too much to ask?! I mean, not even wine, but just some cold water!” He sat up as he continued his rant. “Or some heating or something! I mean seriously, I just—!” Lovino cut himself off with a sharp intake of breath as he gripped his right side.

“Fratello…?” Feliciano asked worriedly, before he saw that Lovino’s blue shirt was bleeding red. “Oh no… I’ll be right back!” Feliciano shot out, before hobbling as fast as he could towards the bathrooms where they kept the first-aid and trauma kits.

Seconds later, Feliciano raced back into the room—ignoring his own injured ankle and broken arm—and handed Lovino a couple of painkillers as he worked on removing the shirt to treat the injury.

Lovino took the pills gratefully, but started to wave Feliciano’s worrying hands away.

“I’m fine, idiota… Just a few cuts…” He muttered as two deep gashes were shown in his right side. Feliciano didn’t say anything; he simply started sewing Lovino up with steady, experienced hands—once again, ignoring his broken arm.

“You’ve… done this before?” America asked, surprised. Of all nations, he’d thought that Italy would be the last to be trusted in a medical situation…

“Si. You’re forgetting that Romano and I are actually older than Japan, we’ve been in many dangerous situations before.”

“YOU’RE WHAT?!” Multiple nations shouted at once, as Italy covered his sensitive ears.

“Nani? You didn’t know?” Japan asked, enjoying their shock almost as much as Italy and Romano were. Though Japan himself only found out about it within the past half-century.

The other nations continued to gape until Feliciano’s voice drew their attention back to the memory. “There. All done.” They looked to see an expertly sewn-up Lovino.

Italy tensed slightly, and covered his ears, motioning for Japan (who had sensitive hearing as well) and Romano to do the same. Confused, they did so just as Feliciano let out a bloodcurdling scream filled with so much pain, that every single nation in the room cringed.

Feliciano’s left side started to bleed heavily, much to the room’s alarm.

“VENEZIANO?!” Lovino cried out, practically ripping the shirt off of his little brother to see what was wrong. What they saw made everyone gasp.

A very large chunk of Feliciano’s left side was missing, from the bottom part of his ribcage (some of it was visible through the blood) to his hipbone. It honestly looked like someone decided to take a sharp trenching shovel and dig it into his side, ripping out a large chunk.

Lovino started to panic, along with Romano and quite a few other nations in the room. “Crap! I have to calm down.” Lovino took a shaky breath to steady himself, as he dug through the medical kits to start treating Feliciano’s wound.

Time seemed to speed up, almost as if someone hit a fast-forward button. Before anyone could ask what was going on, it went back to normal speed again, showing a sleeping Feliciano, an exhausted Lovino, and a horrid, yet expertly treated wound.

The whole room seemed to let out a sigh of relief with Lovino that everything was going to be okay as the memory faded out and they found themselves back in the endless whiteness of the Aurora.

“How deep was it, aru?” China asked, curious. They couldn’t really tell with all the gauzes and bandages wrapped around the wound. Italy gave a slightly bitter smile for a moment, before lifting the edge of his shirt.

They gasped again, seeing the scar—if it could even be called that—of the wound they’d just seen him obtain. It looked really old, too… But what had made them gasp was that it was about 5 inches tall or so, from the hipbone area up, and roughly 6 inches deep towards the bellybutton. It looked like something out of a horror movie. It was just… gone. How had they not noticed the bagginess of his shirt before? How had they not noticed anything wrong with their friend? He’d already gone through so much… So much, and yet… they’d done nothing to help… to notice…

Italy lowered his shirt. “Likely, it won’t be shown, because nothing truly note-worthy happened during this time—well, nothing note-worthy happened to Romano and I—but you all should know… You see, due to the pollen also reacting with the large amount of pollution in the air, the entire world was encased in darkness… For nine months, there was no sunlight anywhere on Earth. It was called the Nine Months of Darkness.” America snorted slightly.

“That’s what they called it? They really couldn’t come up with anything more creative?”

“Well, I didn’t decide it! People just started calling it that, and it stuck!” Italy half-muttered indignantly. “Now, if I may?”

“Sorry.” America replied sheepishly as England gave him a warning glare.

Italy only rolled his eyes slightly, having missed Initial Blast, caused the largest mass-extinction in the history of the world, even more disastrous than the Precambrian extinction. More than 99.9% of all plant life died, and more than 98% of all life on earth—land and sea—perished as well, humans were nearly included in that. By the time the sun finally rose again, the entire land was nothing but ice and ruin… No green, no life… just… death…” He shivered, clearly recalling what it had looked like.

The others only stared in shock. They couldn’t imagine it. They just simply couldn’t imagine such a world…

Turns out, they didn’t have to. As the next memory flashed in, it actually started off somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 ft in the air. The nations all screamed a bit, before they realized that they weren’t falling. It wasn’t until they confirmed that they were safe from such a painful death, that they really looked at the ground below them.

It was like something out of one of Japan’s animes, some sci-fi or post-apocalyptic thing… only it wasn’t an anime… it was real. For Italy, this had happened.

Italy immediately recognized the area below them. Amidst a forest of brown, dead trees filled with dead foliage and rotting animal carcasses, causing the place to reek—not that they could smell it, but one’s memory didn’t forget these types of smells—he pointed towards a field of what had once been flowers.

“Look. Do you see that?” He asked, as the others looked closer.

“Is there something… moving down there?” Canada asked, making the other nations jump at his voice.

“Si… those are all insects.”

“EWW! Somebody grab some Raid!” America cried out. He wasn’t a squeamish guy, but that many bugs? Enough to make the ground look like a floodplain? That was waaaay too many for his tastes.

“I wish.” Feli scoffed. “Raid won’t do anyone any good. They’re immune. They’ve been altered by the radioactivity. They’re called Contaminoids, or will be one day. They’re flesh-eating insects with a taste for humans, and they’re very dangerous.”

“Dangerous? Aren’t they a little small to be considered dangerous? I mean sure, in a large group like that they would surely eat you alive, but couldn’t you just squish them before they rally like this?” England asked, eyeing the Contaminoid larvae uncertainly. After all, they were only the size of rats.

“Those are only the larvae. They’re just babies, newly born, and starving. When she’s done breeding, the mother usually offers herself up as food for the larvae, but if there’s another food source nearby…”

“Wait, they’re only the babies?! Mon Cher! That’s horrible! We must prevent this!” France cried out dramatically.

“No, really?” Italy muttered before speaking up in a louder voice. “At this point, they’ve only just started to evolve. They’re probably about one twentieth of the way through their evolutionary chain. They still have another 300-some-odd years of evolution before they reach their final stage. That is, the Contaminoid species as a whole, not the larvae.” He clarified.

“Wait, are you meaning to say that these little bitty bugs will become stronger?” Russia asked.

“They’ll reach the end of their evolution in only 300 years? That’s incredibly fast…” Japan muttered to himself, trying to figure out just how they could evolve so quickly. Perhaps there weren’t many physical changes? Even still… The radiation alone wouldn’t boost it that much, surely?

“I think the more important issue is that you just said three hundred years. Do you mean to tell me that you had to go through this for three hundred years?!” Romano whipped around towards his brother, worried for his fratellino’s sanity if he’d had to survive like this for over 300 years. Because the way he’d talked about it, made it sound like he’d lived like this longer than 300 years…

But Romano couldn’t help but wonder… where was his future self? Not the memory one, but his actual future self. He knew for a fact that he wouldn’t let his fratellino travel back in time to prevent the apocalypse by himself! So where was he? Veneziano wouldn’t leave him behind, either, unless he was badly hurt or unable to travel… and there was a small window in which to travel back… Or unless he was dead.

He shuddered. Not at the thought of his death, but at the thought of leaving Veneziano alone in this kind of world for any length of time. Especially when it seemed like they were all each other had at this point… No. He wouldn’t die… Maybe something just went wrong with the spell or something? Time traveling isn’t exactly something that one can practice, after all. But still… if it was something else…

He also cringed away from the thought of being too sick or—God forbid—disabled to travel back in time. Was he dying? Was he really too ill to help his fratellino? Was he lying somewhere in an alternate future, wasting away and wondering why the fuck he wasn’t better yet? No… He’d follow his fratellino into the depths of hell even if he had to walk on his hands! No injury or illness or disability would stop him!

But what if he was—

Fratello.” Italy stated, snapping Romano out of his rapidly darkening train of thought. “You’ll find everything out, don’t worry. I’m fine.”

“Idiota… Over 300 years… You’re not fine.”

Before Italy could reply, the scene changed again. This time, they were in a bustling city. It was dark out, and it seemed like nothing had happened.

“Where are we?” America asked, trying to place the city they were in. It looked quite a bit like one of his, but it wasn’t anything he recognized either…

“We’re in Eon. It’s a large city in the ruins of Italy.” Veneziano stated.

“Don’t say “in the ruins of Italy” so nonchalantly!” Romano demanded, still scared for his brother’s mental health and stability.

“Fratello…” Italy sighed. “Sorry; I just say these things… I’m so used to it now… It’s actually strange to think of nations like Italy as not in ruins, or ancient civilizations… It’s so strange to feel my nation again… Don’t get me wrong! I love it! I’m so grateful to feel my people and my lands again! But it’s just… different… I’ve grown so used to feeling only myself and Glendan…”

“Glendan?” Canada asked quietly.

“Oh, you’ll find out about Glendan and the rest of the Regios in future memories, I’m sure. For now… Well, this is only about 50 TF.” Italy stated, turning back to the memory, unaware of the confused looks being directed towards his back.

“TF?” England inquired.

“Oh, TF is what was used after the Apocalypse. It’s like BC or AD; it stands for Tempore Finis.”

“Tempore Finis? Latin for End Time… How fitting…” England trailed off as the rest of the nations turned back to the memory.

Feliciano and Lovino were shown walking down the street at night. There were a few crowds milling about, but it wasn’t nearly as crowded as the nations were used to… It seemed to really hit home for some of them… This was a large city, right? But there could only be a few thousand people here…

“Fratello.” Feliciano spoke firmly and seriously, something that the other nations weren’t used to at all.

Lovino looked up and gave a single firm nod, before the two of them dashed down an alleyway at full speed, causing the nations to dash after them. They stopped at a dead end and whirled around, knives in their hands.

“What the—?!” The other nations cried out in shock, not only because of the sudden dashing, but the knives were certainly not expected. Plus, they’d never seen such a dark look on Feliciano’s face before… and with that knife in his hand…? Even Russia was slightly intimidated, though he’d neither show it, nor would he ever admit it. Some of the nations had to do a double take of Feliciano’s eyes to make sure it wasn’t his 2P.

Before anyone could say anything more, three large men ran down the alleyway behind them. “STOP!” One of the men yelled, as Feliciano rolled his eyes.

“We’re at a dead-end. Do they even need to tell us to stop?” He asked dryly, as Lovino simply rolled his eyes in response.

“We’ve got you now! Vargas Brothers! You’ve caused a lot of trouble for the Boss… We’re going to make sure that stops now.”

“What are they talking about?” Germany asked, confused and worried. Had Italy gotten into trouble again? Why couldn’t he just keep his nose out of dangerous situations?

Italy said nothing, as Feliciano and Lovino smirked wickedly. “Oh, it’s so good to know that he considers us enough of a threat to send some thugs after us, isn’t it Lovi?” Feliciano asked playfully, ignoring the danger completely. He looked amusedly bored with the situation, as if this sort of thing happened all the time.

“Si… Though he should consider us more of a threat. After all, we did blow up 5 of his labs.” Lovino replied in the same tone.

“You what?!” America shouted, unable to imagine Italy blowing something up… Romano? Yeah, he could see that… But Italy? Well, not on purpose anyways.

“Ve? Well, we thought that their big boss-man was inside, so we blew up the first one, but he wasn’t… So we decided to just piss the bastard off by blowing up the rest~” Italy chirped cheerfully.

“You tried to kill a human, aru?!” China shouted, shocked—the rest were too shocked by his cussing to say anything. While there weren’t really any ‘rules’ per-say for nations, it wasn’t like they could just go around killing humans. The only time that it was really acceptable was during wartime… To just try to kill a human for no reason, or for a ‘human’ motive was almost unheard of!

“The bastard deserved it. Such a shame we never got him…” Italy muttered, before Romano wacked the back of his head.

Language!

“Really?!” Italy shot back, with a look that clearly said ‘You’re telling me to mind my language?!’

Before their argument could continue, two of the three men rushed them with knives of their own. It was almost too fast for the other nations (sans Japan and China) to see, but in an instant, the two men were lying on the ground with blood pooling around them. They were obviously dead, or would be very soon.

The nations just stared at Romano and Italy as Feliciano and Lovino stood there, looking for all the world like they hadn’t just killed two men. Italy and Romano looked just as bored and disinterested as their past counterparts.

Of course, what the other nations didn’t know was that they’d killed like this many times. They were the head of the Mafioso, after all. They’d worked their way up the ranks to the very top, and they both had a lot of blood on their hands.

Before anyone could say anything, though, the third guy who’d stayed back whipped out a gun, and started firing at the brothers.

“YOU BASTARDS!

Really? How ever did you guess?” Feliciano rolled his eyes. “Romano, what do you think? Should we send a message back to the big-guy?” He continued, sounding disinterested and almost bored as he effortlessly dodged every bullet.

“Good idea. Would you like to take care of it while I clean up the mess?” Lovino replied, dodging the bullets as effortlessly as his brother.

“Grazie, fratello~ You know how I hate clean-up~” Feliciano chirped, as he shot forward with incredible speed, seemingly teleporting in front of the man, and grabbing the gun with his hand.

The man yelled in surprise, as he whipped out his own knife, and stabbed Feliciano in the leg. Feliciano only winced slightly as the knife dug deep into his flesh. He grabbed the wrist that stabbed him, and snapped it with a sickening crack.

“You’re a monster!” The man cried, as his eyes darted around, trying to find some hope of escape.

“Nu-uh-uh~ I need you to deliver a little message to your boss~” Feliciano chirped, as he broke the man’s other arm with a chilling smile on his face. He lowered his voice to a demonic growl—the dangerous aura around him practically tangible—as his golden eyes narrowed into malicious slits.

“I want you to tell Ignacius that the Vargas Brothers are coming. Tell him that we’re going to stop him, and that there’s no place on this earth that he can hide from us. We’re coming—and the Devil himself can’t stop us.” Feliciano let loose a feral, bloodthirsty grin, as the man fell to his ass and a suspicious wet-patch spread along his front pants.

Lovino stepped forward, with two small bags that fit snugly in the palm of his hands. He dropped the bags in the man’s lap, and stated with a bone-chilling chuckle, “Take your friends back to your boss, too. Tell him we have a special bag, just for him.” The man looked down in horror at the two bags on his lap, and scrambled to get them as far away from him as he could. Lovino and Feliciano shared a smirk as they casually walked away.

The nations who were more aware of their environment, such as Japan, noticed that the bodies of the two dead men were gone, as was any evidence that they’d even been there at all.

Almost as if on-cue, a black car with heavily tinted windows rolled up to the entrance of the alleyway. The two nations climbed in without a glance back, looking like nothing had happened.

The nations were too stunned to move, but the scene flashed and they appeared in the back of the car. There was a familiar girl driving, and an unfamiliar man in the passenger seat. He had unruly black hair, with a dark black trench coat and black gloves. He also had an eye patch over one eye, with a scar visible over said eye under the eye patch. He turned to look at Feliciano and Lovino with his remaining dark grey eye. He had a cigarette in his mouth, and a silver gun on his hip.

“Getting into trouble again, Feliciano? Lovino?” He asked, amused, as he handed a clean bandage strip to Feliciano before turning forward again.

“Trouble? Nah, just dealing with a few pests.” Lovino replied easily, obviously familiar with the man, as he helped Feliciano treat the stab wound to his left leg.

“Thanks for the getaway, though. Perfect timing as always, Saya.” Feliciano stated, flashing a smile to the girl driving, who only nodded in response.

She had long black hair, and shadowy-blue eyes that seemed void of emotion. She had a gothic-style black choker around her neck with a Celtic cross woven into the fabric, and a matching black strapless dress. A red rose with silver ribbon was pinned to the dress above her left breast. She held an ethereal, other-worldly feel about her. If they didn’t know any better, the nations would believe her to be some sort of beautiful ghost or immortal vampire… Perhaps even a forbidden, deadly siren, calling with an untouchable beauty.

“So who were those guys? And what was that back there?!” America finally blurted out, being the first to pull out of his shock.

“Ve… Those men were after us because we’d been interfering with their boss’s pet project. Their boss is a man named Ignacius. While I’m sure it would’ve happened eventually, he sped up the process of the creation of Contaminoids. At this point in time, as I’m sure you remember, they’re only the size of a rat, but the ones he had been making… They were large enough to bite a human in half.” The others shivered at the thought of a bug that big.

I almost hate to see what their reactions will be to the size that the Contaminoids actually grow to… Italy thought to himself.

“Ah, so that’s why you blew up the labs, oui?” France asked.

“Yup~”

“But… what bothers me is how easily you killed those humans…” England spoke just above a whisper…

Italy and Romano shared a glance. “We’re the Mafioso. We’re used to killing humans.” Romano finally stated.

The others blinked a few times as the words finally clicked. “WHAT?!” They cried out in shock. “Surely you don’t mean that you’re in the Mafia?!” England shouted out.

“We’re not in the Mafia.” Italy stated. “We are the Mafia. We have total control of it. Together, we are the Head of the strongest, most powerful Mafioso Famiglia in Italy. We control the criminal underworld of Italy.” He finished, making the jaws of most the nations—even Spain—drop.

Japan only widened his eyes slightly. After all, who was he to judge? He controlled the Yakuza in the same way that the Italy twins controlled the Mafia. Huhuhu…

“Ah, the Vargas Famiglia, I presume?” Japan asked them quietly.

“Si…?” Romano raised an eyebrow in question.

“You’ve had some dealings with my Yakuza.” He smiled innocently.

“Ah! So you’re—”

“Hai.” Japan cut Feli off abruptly with a secretive smile. The three of them just shared an almost predatory grin before the memory drew their attention again.

“So any new leads?” Lovino asked.

“None yet. We’re looking into a new contract, so we won’t see you for a while. Be careful. The inhuman beings are everywhere these days.” The man said, turning to look at them with a serious gaze.

“Inhuman beings, aru?”

“Si… Basically, they’re bio-mutations caused by the nuclear radiation all over the world. Anything that survived was still affected on some level by the radiation… Even the humans. They are literally non-humans. Sometimes, humans were badly affected by the radiation, deforming in both body and mind, and becoming something of a talking monster with no real free will; just instinct. Thankfully, most humans just started to develop this extra organ called the kei organ.” Italy explained.

“The what, aru? Another organ? What does it do?” China asked, curious. As someone who was extremely well versed in the medical field, he was very interested in the development of an entirely new organ in the human body.

“They didn’t become developed enough for anyone to notice for two or three generations or so, and they weren’t fully evolved for another… gosh, I really don’t know. I won’t bother explaining what its function is, yet, but I will tell you something that I think you might find interesting; every single nation that exists, has ever existed, or will ever exist, has a kei organ. For the most part, it’s just too small for anyone to notice, but with proper exercise of the organ, it’ll grow. Mine’s pretty big, even for a nation in the future, and I can utilize its abilities rather well. America’s is also larger than most of yours, though still very small compared to mine. His kei organ is the reason why he’s so physically strong.”

“Really?! Dude! That’s totally awesome! So, it’s like I have this super-power?! Sweet!” America pumped his fist in the air in excitement. “You have to teach me how to use it~!”

“Sorry, but if I do teach you, I’ll be teaching everyone. So don’t count on it. We don’t need them anymore.” Italy said with a slight sigh of thankfulness. So glad we don’t need them in our time…

They turned back to the memory, now understanding a bit more of the conversation than they did earlier.

“Right. You guys be careful, too. Even the best can slip.” Feliciano reminded them, before smiling as he gazed out the window again. “You know, we can’t live in these Domes forever… the Inhuman Beings are becoming too strong. They may be weak now, but they’re growing rapidly. It’s only a matter of time…”

“What do you propose? You and your brother may be fine out there, but humans can only survive for 5 days at most.” Saya said, not taking her eyes off the road.

“Domes? Five days? What are you talking about?” England asked, already lost in the conversation again.

“The pollution in the air reacted negatively with the nuclear blast and the subsequent radiation. The air slowly started to become acidic. At this point, it wasn’t much, but any human could only be out there for about five days before their lungs would give out. The acidic air literally eats your lungs from the inside out. Though nations can survive for about 5 weeks out there before starting to feel the effects. As such, Domes were built around cities and towns. Each Dome was fitted with a powerful air-filter, and the Dome itself was strongly reinforced to withstand any of the radiation-mutated creatures on the outside. But the Contaminoids were growing rapidly, and they were getting stronger. We knew that they’d break the Domes before long. So we came up with an alternative.”

Before anyone could ask him what that alternative was, Feliciano spoke up again.

“We’re not entirely sure yet, but there isn’t much time.” He stated firmly.

“We’re actually planning on taking a break from our pursuit to devote our time to this. If our calculations are correct, then we only have a century or so before the air becomes too toxic for even our air purifiers to fully cleanse, and for those monsters to become strong enough to break through the Dome’s walls.” Lovino stated. The man simply nodded, as Saya pulled up to a small, inconspicuous house.

“Thanks again for the ride~” Feliciano called back as he got out of the car, Lovino right behind him.

“No problem! Be careful, and good luck!” The man called back, waving.

“You too!” Lovino said as they drove off, the memory fading back to that white abyss known as the Aurora.

Before anyone could say anything more, the next memory appeared. The nations looked around, finding themselves in an enormous warehouse, probably the size of a large city. It went on for miles.

“Wow, what is this place, aru?” China asked in wonder.

“Ah, this is the private building lab of myself and Romano. We already owned the land, and built this warehouse there, to keep the Contaminoids away, seeing as we’re currently outside of the Dome.”

“It’s huge!” Prussia shouted out, listening to the echo, as he laughed to himself. “I AM AWESOME!” He shouted again, listening with glee as his voice faintly repeated his words back.

“That’s enough, bruder…” Germany sighed, as Feliciano and Lovino walked in.

“Fratello… they didn’t listen. We told them that the Domes weren’t safe anymore; that the Contaminoids are growing too big and too strong… We even proposed our idea, but they didn’t listen!” Feliciano shouted out in frustration.

“It’ll be okay. They’re just idiots. We have the materials we need, and the basic blueprints. It is our idea, after all. We just need to build it.” Lovino stated.

“But Fratello… It’s so big! It’ll take decades with just the two of us!”

“We don’t have a choice, Veneziano! We have to do this… Or we’ll lose everyone…”

Feliciano seemed to harden in resolve. “You’re right, fratello. You work on the mechanics, and I’ll take on the aesthetics and we’ll tackle any issues together.”

“Right. Hey, wait! Who put you in charge?! I’m the older one, here!” Lovino suddenly shouted out, before giving his little brother a smirk, “Well, let’s get to work! We have a lot to do if we’re going to get this thing done in time!”

“What are you working on?” Japan asked, terribly curious.

“Ve~ We knew that the Domes that people were living in at this point weren’t going to last much longer. This is about 135 TF, by the way. The Contaminoids ranged from the size of a rabbit to the size of a large dog—like a Great Dane, though those were really rare—so you could imagine how much damage they were causing.” Again, the other nations shivered at the thought of bugs getting that big. “So Fratello and I came up with the idea of moving domes… They would move around, and avoid any detectable Contaminoids, and have extremely powerful air-filters that were made to work with the air friction created by the moving dome. We would eventually call them Regios.”

“A moving city?!” America shouted out. “That sounds so cool!” His eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas.

The memory seemed to fast-forward again. Day and night it showed Feliciano and Lovino working hard to build the Regios; only leaving the lab a handful of times, it seemed.

“We were forced to leave the lab for a few days every 5 weeks or so, because our lungs couldn’t take the outside air any longer than that without roughly 3 days reprieve.” Italy stated.

“What?! You shouldn’t be putting yourselves in danger like that, aru!” China glared at Italy and Romano.

“Hey! I haven’t done this shit yet! Besides… It’s to save what little people we have left.” Romano stated, looking off to the side. The other nations stopped their protests, knowing that they’d do the same in such a situation.

“Si… The people in Eon… they were among the last of the Italian race.” Italy stated, as the other nations’ eyes grew wide as the implications set in. They’d thought that there were more cities, but…

“You mean… that’s it…?” England asked, shocked

“Yes… There had been other cities before, but they’d become overrun with Contaminoids or inhuman beings. Either way, each city fell one by one. At this point, there were only three cities left—Eon, Virsa, and Venezia. Virsa fell after we completed the Regios. They hadn’t finished building theirs before the attack… And Venezia… She fell, too… We were able to rescue about 897 people and move them to our Regios, but the other 5,000-some-odd people died. In all, world population at this point was less than one million.” The nations couldn’t breathe for a moment. Less than a million? They couldn’t comprehend the thought. Sure, those like China and Japan could remember a time when world population had been low, but for it to plummet from the billions to less than a million in only a few centuries?! It was inconceivable!

The memory slowed down again, to show a giant wall. It was probably about as wide as two or three (or ten) cities lined up side-by-side, and taller than ten Eiffel towers, it seemed. They couldn’t see the top.

“Wow! It’s huge! So AWESOME!” Prussia shouted, making the nations jump. He’d been so quiet, they’d actually forgotten he was there. “Kesesese! Ze Awesome Me, is so Awesome that I can be quiet if I want to. Kesesesese~!”

“This is 155 TF.” Italy stated, deciding to ignore Prussia for the time being.

“Wait, it’s been 20 years?!” England shouted out, surprised.

“Si. And this is the finished product!” Italy stated with pride. “The first Regios; Glendan!” As he said this, the memory seemed to zoom out, so that they could get a good view of it. The nations were speechless. It was a breathtaking achievement, and for two people to build such a thing alone, in only 20 years?! Incredible!

“Everyone in Eon moved to Glendan throughout the next few months, which is good, because not even a few weeks after they moved, Eon was destroyed and overrun with Contaminoids. The Regios blueprints were sent to all other known cities across the world, and the Regios became the only way for mankind to survive, seeing as the air grew to become much more toxic as time went on… In fact, by the time we finished, the toxicity had more than doubled! Romano and I could only stand to be out there for about 2 weeks at a time, but we wore special masks that Japan invented to allow ourselves to continue working out there for 5 weeks at a time, like usual. In only a few decades, those masks would become absolutely useless, and new ones would need to be invented for the remaining nations and the humans. But Glendan is the only Regios that uses Italian soil. It is the only Regios that encompasses the spirit of Italy… that represents us.” Italy finished, pride shining in his eyes. It was glaringly obvious that he was very proud of their accomplishment.

The memory flashed again, and they found themselves in what they assumed to be Glendan. It was filled with people, milling about going about their own business. Though they were standing in a lavish office, with an obvious (to some) French flair, the view out the wall-sized window was amazing.

“So this is Glendan? Amazing~” France appraised, though the architecture, in his opinion, was a little more French than Italian…

“Yeah~ Pretty Awesome! But it doesn’t look quite as big as before…?” Prussia said. He may act like an idiot most of the time, but he was a pretty powerful nation at one point. He was also rather observant. One didn’t pick a fight with Russia and be oblivious to the world, after all.

“No. This isn’t Glendan. We not only built it, but we also lived there for a good number of decades. I’d recognize it anywhere… This isn’t a Regios I recognize. But then again, by 165, everyone lived in Regios…” Italy trailed off, puzzled.

“I’ve never visited this Regios, so I can only assume that this isn’t one of my memories. Likely, it’s something that either Saya wants us to see, or something that the Aurora decided we needed to see.”

“Okay… So do you have any idea about what year it is…?” America asked, but before he could answer, the soft and quiet voice of Canada sighed out, “196 TF…”

Everyone looked at a blushing Canada, who quickly stated, “It wasn’t me! Look!” And sure enough, they followed his finger to find Matthew Williams, past Canada (future Canada?), sitting behind a desk, looking out the window.

Italy’s eyes widened, as he realized that he’d finally learn of Canada’s fate.

Matthew looked to a stuffed bear that somewhat resembled Kumajiro. “It’s already been so long. Kumajiro… I miss you so much… I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you like you did me… I would’ve died in that blast without you… thank you…” He stated quietly, as Canada gripped his Kumajiro tightly, horrified at the thought of losing him.

Matthew then started to move out from around the desk, but to their horror, they found that he was in a wheelchair. Both of his legs were gone. From just above the knees, both legs were just… gone.

“Mattie!” America shouted, gripping Canada tightly, horrified that his twin had lost both of his legs. “You are not allowed to lose your legs, got it?!” He cried out. Canada smiled slightly, and nodded his head, but his free hand went to his leg. He didn’t want to be crippled for life like that… He didn’t want to lose his ability to walk… ever…

“Mon Dieu!” France cried out, bringing his son into a hug, and somehow not knocking America out of the way. As the FACE family comforted their quietest member, Matthew spoke again, holding up a letter.

“I’m glad the Italy twins are alright. Though this rifle they sent me is interesting… It channels kei, huh? They said it should be able to damage a Contaminoid… and maybe even kill one! Sounds interesting…” He stated, as he held up a rather metallic-looking rifle, colored red and white with maple leaves all over it.

While Matthew was admiring the rifle, Italy finally decided to explain about kei. “Kei is an energy source for most every human and nation at this point in time. The kei organ won’t be fully evolved until about 450-500 TF, but—”

“Wait, five hundred TF?! FIVE HUNDRED?!” Romano shrieked at the information.

“Si… I’m sure you’ll all find out eventually, but the year that I headed back in time was 5,000 TF.” Italy stopped to let them digest this, as he covered his ears to block out the resounding shouts of shock. Even Japan looked at him in shock.

“Aiyaa… You’re older than me, aru…” China said, trying to relieve some of the tension, which worked with some but not too well. Even China was horrified. The Italy twins were already older than Japan, meaning that they were at least 2,600 years old… But add 5,000 years to that? Italy was over 7,600 years old! That was more than just old, that was ancient! And China complained about his bad back! He’d have to give Italy a thorough medical check-up later, and prescribe some pain medications for his aches and pains if he needed them… He suspected that he would. After all, he was bound to have quite a few injuries from living that long and fighting the Contaminoids, but also that acidic air… His lungs had to have accumulated some sort of damage over the millennia.

Romano seemed to take this news the hardest. “Five thousand years… Five thousand years… Five. Thousand. Fucking. Years! Where the hell am I?! Where the fucking hell is my future self?! Why didn’t he come back with you?! Huh?! Why?!” Romano shouted out in fury, he wasn’t mad with Veneziano, of course not. He was angry with himself. It was obvious that something happened, but he just wished he knew what!

“I…” Italy started, not knowing how to say it. “I’ll… I don’t want to talk about it… please…? It’ll come up eventually, but until then… please don’t make me say it…” Italy whispered. He looked so broken in that moment, that nobody had the heart to push the issue. Romano just wrapped him in a hug.

“Lo siento, fratellino…” Romano whispered to his brother.

“Grazie, fratello… Ve. Ti voglio bene…” Italy whispered back.

“Chigi. Ti voglio bene.”

Before anyone could say anything else, everything started shaking. It reminded them of the tunnels, and several nations cried out in shock, not expecting it. Italy shivered, knowing what this particular kind of shaking meant.

“No!” Matthew shouted, wheeling himself to the window as the shaking stopped and a siren alarm started sounding. Italy and Matthew both started cussing up a storm, though Italy was cursing in an unfamiliar language that none of the nations recognized. It sounded a little bit like Japanese, but at the same time it sounded very different; Japan could only make out a few words. Romano and England hit Italy and Canada in the back of the head respectively.

“Ow! What was that for?!” Italy demanded, still in battle-ready mode.

“No cussing!” Romano shouted. He may not have understood what his brother was saying, but it was obvious what it was.

“What are you hitting me for?!” Canada demanded, “I didn’t cuss! My future self did!” He whisper-shouted. Though he was surprised, his future self was still cussing, and quite loudly, at that. But he never cussed! EVER! Even during the World Wars, he didn’t curse! And his future self was so loud! He was actually cussing in an honest yelling voice!

“You’re Canada!” America said, “You’re not supposed to curse!”

Stop playing around!” Italy snapped, startling the other nations with his war-general tone. “You have no idea how grave the situation really is! The Regios has fallen into a Contaminoid nest! They nest underground, and the Regios can only detect the Contaminoids at ground level! Those larvae are starving, and while they’re only the size of hippos right now, there’ll be hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of them! There’re no Dites yet! The humans have no way of defending themselves! This Regios is doomed, and so is everyone in it! Get it?! Unless some miracle happens, Canada and every person in this Regios is going to die.” He spoke with a grave anger, ranting out his frustrations at how they didn’t grasp the situation.

He was stunned by how easily they could just play around. They had no clue what he’d gone through! How dangerous this future truly was! He now understood why Saya insisted on them seeing these memories. Even with what they’ve already seen and what he’s explained, they truly did not grasp the situation. In all honesty, Italy truly believed that if they were to go back to that Meeting Room right now, that this future would absolutely, without a doubt, come to pass.

The other nations seemed to stop breathing, the words choking them. ‘going to die… going to die… Canada is going to die…’ the words ringing throughout the mind of every nation. The FACE family seemed to gravitate even more towards their now sheet-white Canadian, as the nations finally seemed to get the severity of the situation through their thick heads.

Before anyone could say anything, Matthew wheeled himself to the window, staring out of it, to see hundreds—perhaps thousands—of very large, hard-shelled… insect things quickly taking over the city. The screams of the people as they were eaten alive were terrifying.

They were nations. They’d lived through and fought in both World Wars, and many bloody battles and revolutions in their lifetimes. They’d seen horrors that would turn any human insane. But this… This was on an entirely different level. This was…

“Bloody Hell…” England summed up, watching with horror as the Regios fell to the Contaminoids.

Matthew, on the other hand only cursed some more. “Damnit!” He cried as he opened the window, and aimed his rifle. With a well-aimed shot, he took down a Contaminoid.

“Yeah!” America shouted, hoping that his brother would make it out of this alive.

But some of the other nations seemed to grasp the full severity of the situation better. One sniper cannot take down an army alone. And that was exactly what was going on here. And Matthew seemed to know this, too.

“I’m not going down without a fight!” He screamed, as he continued firing. “I’ll take down as many of you fuckers as I can!” But as he went to take down his 25th or so Contaminoid, the building started to collapse.

In a wheelchair, he wasn’t able to move out of the way of the falling rubble in time. As the building collapsed and the dust cleared, it showed that while Matthew was relatively unharmed, his rifle had been thrown from his grasp, and he had fallen out of his crushed wheelchair.

He was now on ground level, and a nearby Contaminoid had spotted him.

“Shit! Not like this…” Matthew tried to drag himself to his rifle, but the Contaminoid was much faster. The nations watched in horror, praying for some miracle. He couldn’t die! He was a nation! He… He was one of them! They… they couldn’t die… It wasn’t supposed to happen… “Papa… Arthur… I’m so sorry… I’ll say hi to Alfred for you…” He whispered as the Contaminoid threw him up in the air with a yelp, and ate him with a terrifying crunch.

The nations then found themselves back in the whiteness of the Aurora. They were all too shocked and sickened to say anything. The FACE family was busy comforting their shivering Canadian, who was hugging Kumajiro for dear life. Kumajiro couldn’t care less that he was being suffocated. Though they may forget each other’s names most of the time, they cared for each other greatly. He’d been terrified by his owner’s demise, and he’d do anything he could to make sure that it didn’t come to pass.

Canada had been horrified by his own death. He was amazed that his future self could go through that without showing any fear, and that he didn’t even scream as he was eaten, but… He shivered. He didn’t want to go that way… He’d rather fall in battle, not as some giant bug’s dinner!

America on the other hand was furious with himself. How dare his future self die and leave his brother unprotected like that?! How dare he?! He wasn’t there to protect his twin! In fact, he was the cause of his brother’s missing legs! He’d practically killed him himself!

England was horrified at his son’s death. Sure, he forgot Canada more than he should, but he still loved him! He didn’t want him to die! One thing was for certain… he wouldn’t be forgetting Canada anytime soon after that…

France was almost as shaken as America. Canada was his precious son! His son! He hadn’t been able to protect his son! Either of them! He and England had failed as parents! They hadn’t been able to protect either of their precious sons, and they had nobody to blame but themselves!

Prussia stared blankly at Canada. Birdie had died. His Birdie had died! Where the hell was he?! Ah… he probably died in the blast alongside his Bruder… But still! That was no excuse! He was too Awesome to let his Birdie die!

The other nations around the room all had similar thoughts. They were horrified by the death of a fellow nation. It was one thing to die in battle or an explosion, but death by giant man-eating insect? It was terrifying. Nations were supposed to be immortal. They couldn’t die until their nation fell. That’s just how it worked. As long as their nation still existed, and their people identified with their nationality, then they were immortal in every sense of the word; they couldn’t age beyond what the maturity of their culture was; they couldn’t die by any means, suicide, homicide, or anything. Prussia had been burned at the stake before, and drowned, and he still came back to life because he was a nation.

The idea of losing a fellow nation to a permanent death was a foreign concept for most of them. Only Prussia and Italy truly understood… They’d lost Holy Rome, after all. Romano understood, too; he and Veneziano had lost Grandpa Rome. China and Japan understood, being as old as they were. The others couldn’t really grasp it, though. Even some of those who had experienced it, like England and France, had forgotten how it felt… how to cope… And Canada was someone that nobody expected to die so soon.

It also terrified them how large those bugs were. Even Russia was greatly bothered at the ease of which Matthew had been eaten. After all, Canada was on par with Russia in strength, he just never really used it. So the ease with which he was killed and eaten scared the Russian more than he was willing to admit.

Even Italy had been frightened. It wasn’t because of the Contaminoids, but rather the flashbacks that the whole thing had incurred. The many attacks he, himself had lived through… Those terrifying moments when he was so sure he was about to die before a miracle happened. He’d had many very similar brushes with death… the only difference was that he’d survived them. Something that he was greatly saddened the Canadian couldn’t do. He wasn’t sickened by the death of the Canadian, like the others were. He was used to it… used to this sort of death. He’d seen many friends (admittedly they were mostly humans) die in the same or similar manners.

Canada’s death brought Italy a strange sense of peace and closure. It’d always bothered him that he never knew what happened to the quiet nation, and even though it was a horrifying death, he was glad to finally know.

After about a half an hour, during which thankfully no memories appeared, the nations had finally calmed down.

“Itary-kun… I was wondering what that language you were speaking in was. It sounded like Japanese, but at the same time, it was different…?” Japan asked, curious.

“Oh! It was Japanese, but the language had evolved greatly over the past 5,000 years. The Japanese that you know now would be called, ‘Ancient Japanese’. Ancient Japanese is considered a dead language, and if/when someone comes across some, they have to have ‘experts’ translate it. It’s usually translated incorrectly, so Romano and I would always volunteer to translate the dead languages like French, Italian, Ancient Japanese, Ancient Chinese, Russian, English, Latin, etc… In fact, the only languages spoken after 5,000 years were the evolved versions of Chinese and Japanese, though Japanese was much more common. After all, only Japan and parts of China were inhabitable.” Italy explained. In truth, the only good comparison for Ancient Japanese translations was probably something along the lines of Egyptian hieroglyphs or something.

“In 200 TF, Romano and I moved to Japan with Glendan. The Contaminoids were much larger in numbers in the ruins of Europe. There were millions, perhaps tens of billions in Europe by that point. In contrast, there were only a few hundred thousand in Japan. Though Japan had become much larger after the Apocalypse. You see, the blast had actually moved chunks of China towards Japan, and they merged.” Japan and China shivered at the thought. They were brothers! “At first it only formed a land-bridge from China, and thus Europe, to Japan, but over the next few centuries, plate tectonics took those land-chunks and merged them with Japan. I assume that you were dead by this point, China. You wouldn’t have felt that pain.” Italy stated, before he continued on. “The end result was that Japan had nearly tripled in size. The Contaminoids, while smaller in number, were much stronger in Japan than in Europe. However, the stronger ones tended to stay above ground unless breeding.”

“What about that kei stuff you were telling us about earlier? You never finished…” Canada spoke up.

“Oh, that’s right. Well, there are three main categories for kei: Internal kei, External kei, and Nen’i. Internal kei can be used for a variety of things, from increasing physical strength and stamina, to increasing ones’ rate of healing. Though just having internal kei doesn't mean that you have all these; it’s just some of what’s available. Of course, there’s much more than that depending on how innovative you are, and how much kei you have, but that’s the basics.

External kei is the most common type of kei, and you can have both Internal and External kei. External kei is commonly used with an object called a Dite. Around 310 TF, Dites were invented. These were very weak, prototype Dites, and Romano and I didn’t come up with the ‘modern’ version of a Dite until about 450 TF. This,” Italy took out a rectangle the size of an iPhone with curved corners. It was icy-blue with white scrollwork throughout, looking like snow and frost. It was beautiful. “is a Dite. Now, mind that most Dites don’t look quite this pretty. Most are just a generic blue, black, green, yellow, etc. That’s because this is a special type of Dite that Japan, Romano, and I made called a Celestial Blade, but we’ll get to that later. Anyways, a Dite is made to channel one’s kei energy, and use it as a weapon that can be used to fight the Contaminoids.” Italy held his Dite like one would a sword. “Restoration, 0-1.” He stated, as the Dite transformed into a double-edged sword with the same color scheme that it had in the dormant form.

“This is a sword-type Dite. There are many different kinds of Dites, sniper, broadsword, katana, etc… What makes my Dite special is that it’s made to work with the unheard-of amounts of kei—beyond monstrous—that most nations have. Mine also has 4 different forms, as opposed to the usual 3 for nations, but you’ll see those later.” With a thought, he deactivated his Dite, and it shrunk to the unassuming rectangle that it was before. “Most Dites are generic, and usable and reusable by anyone, but this particular type of Dite will bond with the Nation that uses it, and that nations’ kei energy signature will determine the types of forms that it will have.”

“But back to kei. External kei is used primarily with Dites, but can also be used as energy flares, bullets with firearm-Dites, and as an offensive energy source.” Italy held out his hand towards Romano, as if he were reaching for something, and concentrated. With a flare of icy-blue energy tinged with white, Romano slid back a few feet and stumbled a bit. “I didn’t make it very strong, so your natural kei flow protected you from any damage, but you get the general idea.” Italy said with a grin, as Romano muttered some choice words under his breath. “Like Internal kei, External kei has many more properties that are only limited by the imagination and kei levels of the person using it.”

“Internal kei can also be used to improve ones senses of sight, sound, and smell, and is typically used by snipers to dramatically improve their aim. I, myself, like to use it to improve my hearing.”

“Now, Nen’i is different. Unlike with Internal and External kei, if one has Nen’i, then they cannot use External or Internal kei. In other words, Nen’i users can only use Nen’i. Nen’i users have a special kind of Dite. They use the petals on this Dite with their Nen’i and serve as a means of communication between team members during a battle. They can scope out the area with their Nen’i, gather information, act as a communication means for a team, and even record and re-play events and conversations. This all depends on how strong their Nen’i is. The base power of all Nen’i users is the communication aspect. The major drawback for all Nen’i users, is that the stronger their power, the harder it is for them to show their emotions. As a result, many Nen’i users are viewed as emotionless, or cold and uncaring. I’m not a Nen’i user myself… France is, though. Not only that, but it appears that Nations can be Nen’i users and use External and Internal kei. Though I have a theory that if one is a Nen’i user and has access to their Internal and External kei, that one of the three will be extremely weak to compensate for the Nen’i. France’s External kei was exceedingly weak, but his Nen’i and Internal kei were strong.”

“Ahonhonhon~ I knew I was special~!” France boasted. He didn’t like how Italy spoke about him in past tense. He was sure that he’d died, at some point, but he really hoped that he went down fighting… like his son…

“But how does kei work, aru? How is it created? Where does it come from? What is it?” China asked rapidly.

“I suppose I should’ve started with that, huh? Ve~ Kei energy is something that every living thing has. Essentially, it’s the life force of that being. Plants, animals, people, nations, we all have it. Think, ‘chi’. Life force can regenerate with proper rest and nutrition, but kei also flows freely in the world around us. The kei organ is able to absorb the kei energy around us, and replenish the amount that has been used. Though, with proper exercise of the kei organ, it can be trained to hold and handle more kei, just like a muscle can be trained to lift more weight. If you use up too much kei, however, you will die. The body can only replenish the kei so fast, even by pulling it in from the world around us.” Italy explained, making sure that everyone understood.

“So, it works like chi?” China asked, intrigued.

“Si. Chi is essentially just a dormant form of kei, to my understanding. Think of kei as the evolution of Chi, or something like that.”

The next memory appeared, and they found themselves in another Regios. This one, much to their relief, was not destroyed.

“This is Glendan.” Italy stated, knowing exactly where they were the moment the memory had appeared. He’d never forget Glendan. It was his heart for more than 4,000 years, and he still loved it as much as Venice. Glendan was more of a son to him, especially after Glendan’s Fairy came…

Lovino was shown sitting in a park, as Feliciano walked up to him and stood behind the bench. The grass and trees and peaceful atmosphere of the place made the nations almost believe that the apocalypse never happened. The sky was a serene blue, with fluffy white clouds above them.

“The clouds and sky aren’t real.” Italy reminded them. “It was a little ingenious bit of technology that we came up with to replicate the sky and clouds. Even the breeze has been replicated. The constellations, too. And since Glendan was made with the Italian skyline in mind, it’s one of the only Regios in Japan with a different night sky than the other Regios. I recognize this memory, and it’s skipped over a few important events. I’ll just recap for you really fast. This is about 400 TF. In 300 TF, the Contaminoids finally finished their basic evolution. You’ll see for yourself just how big they grew in the next few memories, I’ll bet, but more than that, all Regios started to create something called an Electronic Fairy.”

“HA! I told you fairies were real!” England shouted out, pointing his finger at France, and laughing like crazy.

“You need to clean your ears, Mon Cher! He said electronic fairies, not imaginary ones! Ahonhonhon~”

“France is right, England. I’m not saying fairies aren’t real!” Italy quickly added when England looked like he was about to argue, “But Electronic Fairies are different, and unique to the Regios. In fact, I’d say that they’re quite a bit like us.”

“Oh? Please explain.” Russia asked.

“They’re the very representations of the Regios from which they were born. Only one Regios is capable of creating Electronic Fairies, though they don’t take on any specific characteristics until they’ve bonded to a Regios. They’re more like spirits, than people. Most of them take the form of some sort of animal. Glendan, for example, is a sort of golden dog with wings for ears. It’s hard to explain. Another Regios, Myath has an Electronic Fairy that looks like a red bird, while the academic city Zuelli, looks like a pale blue girl. Saya also acts as Glendan’s Guardian. And she was the active ‘spirit’ if you will, until Glendan’s Electronic Fairy was born. Before I continue, I’d like to point out that Glendan doesn’t avoid Contaminoids; it seeks them out. As a result, Glendan has earned the reputation as the world’s strongest city.” The other nations stared at Italy. Italy’s Regios was the world’s strongest?! Any doubt that he was the Great Roman Empire’s grandson just flew right out the window.

“Continuing on, in 310 TF, Dites were invented. At this point they’re very weak and can’t handle much kei. In fact, Romano and I had to modify ours because the moment we attempted to channel any amount of our kei into it, it would explode. I’m not bragging either; Nations tend to have anywhere from 5-10 times the amount of kei as a human. In 390 TF, we returned to Glendan, after traveling around a bit from Regios to Regios in search of other nations—we didn’t find anyone. Now this is 400 TF, and I’m willing to bet that it’ll be a rather short memory.” Italy finished, as they turned back to the memory.

“Fratello, did you hear? Some Electronic Fairies have powers… Sometimes, people can obtain those powers and abilities…” Feliciano said quietly as he sat next to his fratello.

“Si… Glendan’s is knowledge, but it’s only our knowledge. Our knowledge of battle and war; our Grandfather’s legacy. Its nothing we don't already have.” Lovino stated. “Why?”

“Because I heard a rumor… There’s an Electronic Fairy that allows one to travel back in time. Fratello, do you know what this means?! If we can get that power, we could prevent all of this! We could go back in time far enough to prevent that nuclear power plant from exploding! To prevent that pollen from spreading! To prevent everything!” Feliciano got more enthusiastic as he went on. “We could save everyone! Nobody would have to die! Fratello~”

“Do you really think we can do this, Veneziano? I mean, we don’t even know if it’s real! What if it’s just a rumor?”

“I don’t care! If there’s the slightest chance that it’s real… For Spain… Germany… Prussia… America… Japan… Everyone.” Feliciano turned to stare at his fratello with determined eyes.

“Alright. We’ll try. No matter how long it takes us. And don’t you dare think that you’ll be doing this all alone, got that?! I’m with you every step of the way!” Lovino gave him a smile, not a smirk, but an honest grin filled with joy and happiness and hope. It was a smile that few of the other nations had ever seen on him. In fact, only Spain and Italy had seen him smile like that before. It made him look centuries younger.

The memory then faded out again until they were surrounded by the familiar whiteness. “For the next 50 years, Fratello and I worked on improving the Dites. And then from 450-510 TF, we worked out how to obtain the powers of the Electronic Fairies without hurting them. Unlike us, if you hurt an Electronic Fairy, then the Regios that it represents will start to go haywire. The Electronic Fairy controls the Regios, after all. Without it in control, the Regios will start to seek out the Contaminoids. The only exception is Glendan, which, for some ‘unknown’ reason—really it’s Saya’s decision—seeks out the Contaminoids regardless.” Italy explained. Well, it wasn’t completely Saya, Italy knew. Glendan’s Electronic Fairy was practically a personification of their Grandfather’s Legacy. He was a warrior. He lived to fight and make his children strong. That was the real reason why Glendan sought out the Contaminoids.

“So our Regios actually seeks out those monsters?! What the fuck?!” Romano shouted, forcing Italy to cover his ears.

“Ve! Please keep it down, fratello! My hearing is rather sensitive…”

Romano muttered an apology as the next memory faded into existence. They were in an unfamiliar Regios. It looked distinctly French, and even had an Eiffel Tower replica in the middle.

“Ah~ France~ It must be moi~” France cried out in joy.

“Si. This is Jubil, the only Regios with pure French soil. That Replica of the Eiffel Tower? It’s actually built with the remains of the original Eiffel Tower.” Italy explained.

“Oh? Ahonhonhon~ No wonder it’s so magnifique!”

“Ve~ Fratello, look!” Feliciano said, pointing to a familiar blonde figure sitting quietly at a café.

“Oh? It’s the Wine Bastard. Well, we should go say hi.” Lovino stated, looking begrudgingly happy to see another nation.

“Ve~ Big Brother Francis! Ciao, Ciao!” Feliciano cried out, as Francis’ head whipped up in shock.

“Mon Cher! It’s Italie! And Romano, too! Oh, what are you doing here?!” Francis cried out in surprise as he hugged Feliciano back, though Feliciano seemed to notice something, and his smile dimmed a bit.

“Ve~ We’re looking for something, and came to Jubil. Imagine our surprise to see you here~!” Feliciano explained.

“Yeah, yeah. Good to see you, too, Wine Bastard.” Lovino stated, pulling up a chair at the table.

“Oh, I’ll take you back to my place, if you want? I have the best wine in town, there~ And I’ll even make you some traditional French desserts, Oui?” Francis said, as he moved out from behind the table, revealing himself to be in a wheelchair, just like Matthew.

“So what happened?” Feliciano asked calmly, yet sadly, as the other nations looked on in shock. Sure there were many that didn’t particularly like France, but no one deserved to be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives—and if Francis’ injury/injuries hadn’t healed within the past 500 years, then they likely wouldn’t ever heal.

France looked at his future self with a sad smile. He knew that he had likely ended up crippled like this. It was a gut feeling. He also knew that he was likely to die here, as well. Jubil… It was a beautiful place… It reminded him so much of Paris, and his future self looked upon the city with the same love that he now looks upon his beloved capital.

“It happened during the explosion. I’m only slightly paralyzed, don’t worry.” Francis said with a bright smile, as he led them into a penthouse in a grand hotel. “I can still get around and fight, when I need to. I suppose I have you two to thank for the Dites?” He asked as Feliciano and Lovino made themselves comfortable in the living room, a glass of good, French wine in their hands, as Francis poured himself a glass.

“Si. Though we’re still working on Dites that’ll allow a nation to use their full kei…” Feliciano said, still looking rather upset at Francis’ condition.

“I see that you two weren’t entirely unscathed by the blast, either.” He stated, having seen the unusual bagginess in Feliciano’s shirt when he’d shifted to grab his glass of wine.

“Yeah, well, what did you expect?! The only reason we even survived was because we got rid of those fucking power plants decades beforehand!” Lovino snapped, still touchy about his brother’s injury.

“Fratello…” Feliciano sighed, before turning to Francis again. “You’re the first nation we’ve seen since the blast. Do you know if anyone else is okay…?”

“I’m not sure about anyone else, but I saw Angleterre just a couple of years ago~! He looked just fine! A little rougher than I remembered, but he was alive, at least. And he wasn’t that injured by the blast, amazingly enough.” Francis informed them with a bright smile. “He looked well enough, and even stayed here for a few months… He’s changed a lot. We hardly even fought while he was here.”

“AHH! I knew that the day you two could spend any amount of time together would mean the end of the world!” America shouted.

“Bloody idiot! We didn’t cause the end of the world by not fighting!” England retorted. He wondered just how much his future self had changed. After all, to be able to not just tolerate but actually enjoy France’s presence…

“Uh, Feli? Would you mind explaining why future France seems to have lost his accent?” Spain asked.

“Oh? Well, technically he’s speaking a different language. Over time, many once-nations lost the accents of our homelands. It’s something that’s kinda hard to hang on to, you know?”

The memory seemed to fast-forward again, showing the three nations enjoying themselves, the Italy twins explaining their search for the Electronic Fairy of Time, and finally, Francis seeing the twins off.

Italy stiffened when it became clear that the memory would stay with Francis. France, as well, stiffened, sensing what was to come.

The memory suddenly changed to show Francis at that same café that he met the Italy twins at. “Ah~ I miss them already…” He looked up at the morning sky with a forlorn expression. “I just wish… That everything could go back to what it was…” Almost as soon as he said this, the Regios started to shake, exactly as Matthew’s Regios did. Everyone froze, fearing the worst.

Their fears were confirmed when the alarms started blaring, and an announcement went out for everyone to head to the bunkers, and that the Contaminoids were coming.

“Merde!” Francis cried out, both in slight fear, and great anger. The other nations could see, however, that that fear was not for himself, but rather for his people. The few people that he had left.

The memory was—thankfully—fast-forwarded only to slow down to show Francis wheeling himself out of a seemingly secure area. A man was trying to stop him.

“Please, Mr. Bonnefoy! It’s extremely dangerous out there! Even if you can snipe, it’s too dangerous for you right now, let us handle it!” He cried, trying to stop Francis by force.

“Non. You know as well as I that if it continues on like this, everyone will die. I can take care of the larvae… I’ll take care of the rock that’s keeping us from moving. As soon as you are able, take Jubil as far away from here as you can. Please.”

“I… We can’t! In your condition, there’s no way that you can–!”

“Don’t you dare judge me, child.” Francis cut him off firmly, staring at him with the most serious expression that any of the nations had ever seen on him. “I am many centuries older than you. I know my limits. And I must do this. For Jubil… and for my sons… I could never face them if I didn’t go out fighting.” He then smiled broadly—brightly, a smile full of hope. “Besides! I want to die with no regrets. And what better way than protecting my home and people?”

The man was too stunned to stop Francis as he wheeled himself out of the bunker, the explosions of the outside world filtering into the, apparently soundproof area through the now opened door. He stopped one last time and looked back, before saying, “If anyone named Arthur Kirkland, Feliciano Vargas, Lovino Vargas, or Matthew Williams comes asking for me, please tell them what happened. They’re all very dear to me. And tell them… I’m sorry.” And just like that, the door closed.

WHACK! England hit France hard in the back of the head.

“What was zat for?!” He cried out in pain, before Canada and America did the same thing, all three of them looked furious.

“You! YOU! YOU BLOODY IDIOT!” England cried out. “How dare you go and get yourself killed! YOU INSENSITIVE GIT!

Before he could say anything else, Italy stepped up, glaring hard at France, making the nation gulp in fear.

“Do you have any idea…” He started in a darkly calm voice. “How Romano and I felt when we learned of your death? Do you have any clue how devastated we were? You were the first nation we’d met in 550 years. And then you just die? You never even said goodbye! You asshole! Do you even know how devastated England was when we told him?! DO YOU?!” Italy cried out, the hurt and pain, made worse by death and time, shining through the cracks of his mask.

“I- I-” France started only to stop at Italy’s glare.

“I don’t want you to apologize to me. I understand why you did what you did. I get it. I would’ve done the same thing for Glendan.” He pointed stiffly to England, Canada and America. “They, on the other hand, do not. Canada might, but the other two don’t. They’re the ones you need to apologize to.” He stated, and he was very thankful that the memory had paused for this to take place.

Ten minutes of apologies, tears, and furious cursing—on England’s part—later, they were ready to return to the memory.

It picked up showing Francis wheeling around the destroyed town. Even the precious Eiffel Tower II had fallen. There were no bodies of humans, as the Contaminoids ate everything, but there were some fallen larvae around. The others stared.

“That’s definitely bigger than last time.” Prussia said, looking at the Contaminoid body. It was the size of a whale! The others shivered at the sheer size of these larvae.

“This is just a niño?!” Spain shouted in shock.

Francis was shown holding up a deactivated Dite. It was a royal blue color, with bright reds and whites. It was just as flashily colored as he was.

“Restoration, 0-2” He stated, as it turned into a French MAS mle. 1956 Rifle. He took aim, and fired, taking down three Contaminoid larvae with a single shot. It was obviously much more powerful than a conventional rifle.

“Bloody hell… One shot?” England stared, knowing that France wasn’t as much of a sissy as everyone took him for, but wondering if everyone would see it now. After all, he’d fought with France for centuries. He knew better than anyone that France, despite popular belief, was no pushover. Girl scout troop aside.

“Not bad.” Romano stated. He may not like France that much, but he knew a good shot when he saw one. He was a sniper after all, plus his mafia weapon of choice was a gun. Veneziano preferred his knives and sword, but Romano would always prefer his pistols.

Francis took out about 30 of the larvae while making his way down to the outside gates of the Regios. The nations could see the wasteland-like outer ring past the gate.

“Is that the barrier?” America asked, pointing to the support beams around the Regios.

“Si. That marks the air-filter barrier of the Regios. There’s a steep drop on the other side of the filter, as you’ll soon see.” Francis wheeled himself through the carnage of dead Contaminoids approaching the air filter barrier. It wasn’t long before they saw the absolute sheer drop that Italy had been talking about.

“Dude, that’s not just a drop, that’s like the edge of the world.” America shivered slightly. He wasn’t afraid of heights per say, but that combined with the death and decay before them… It looked like the savannah had simply dried up and decided it wanted to become a desert wasteland. But even the sand seemed to be gone. It was so desolate…

Before anyone could say anything else, a Contaminoid came up from behind Francis, causing the nations to cry out in shock, trying to warn their friend. They could see no way out of it; he was trapped. He was going to die.

Francis, however, only smirked. “I won’t die so easily. Restoration, 0-3.” He stated just as the Contaminoid smashed down upon him. Then, to their shock, the Contaminoid split clean in half, the corpse falling to Francis’ either side leaving him unscathed.

“Wha?!” Someone cried, but through the dust, they saw Francis standing strong on his two legs.

“I knew it.” Italy muttered.

“Knew what?!” England demanded. He was scared, frustrated, and confused. Even France looked surprised.

“Francis had very strong Internal Kei. He channeled that kei into his legs, to allow himself to regain mobility again. The nerves weren’t severed or anything in the blast—he wasn’t paralyzed. It just caused him great pain to move anything below the waist. My guess is that he can last only 15-30 minutes like this before his legs give out, and the pain overwhelms him.” Italy stated, as the others stared at Francis in awe.

Francis jumped down from the Regios, causing the others to cry out in shock again, but they relaxed as they saw him jumping on the flying larvae, killing them as he went, using them as a sort of grotesque staircase to the ground.

“They can fly?!” Prussia cried out in shock.

“Si… Some larvae can fly, while others can only walk. Their main traits are pretty much evolved, now, though the ones in Japan are slightly larger…” Italy informed them as they stared at him in shock. Larger?! How the hell could they get larger?!

Francis seemed to run at great speeds, and they were dragged along behind him, the world blurring by as the sickening green blood of the Contaminoids painted the desolate sands of the world around them.

Eventually, they came upon two enormous rocks with the Regios’ leg wedged between them. Francis’ third Dite restoration was finally shown to the nations to be a rapier. It looked just as thin, flimsy, and fragile as a normal rapier, but the green blood dripping from the tip showed that it was somehow capable of slicing clean through those horrible monsters.

Francis was panting hard, and his skin seemed to be smoking, especially on the scratches that he’d received as he’d fought his way through the battlefield.

“Ah… So this is it…” he stated, as he raised his rapier. “For Jubil! And for France!” He shouted as he destroyed one of the rocks with a single blow, freeing the Regios.

“Now… For the mother…” He muttered as he ran again towards a fissure in the earth.

“What?! You—?! Why would you do that?! YOU IDIOT! You survived! You could’ve—!” England couldn’t understand it. Neither could the other nations—sans Italy. He was going to go further and fight the mother?! But why!?

“Ve… Those are only the babies. If the mother calls for help, there’ll be no outrunning the reinforcements. The adults are much harder to deal with, and the ideal way to kill one is while it’s either molting, or while a mother is dormant, as this one likely is… But these babies look a few days old. My guess is that the mother is either just coming out of dormancy, or will come out soon.” Italy explained.

Francis had finally found the mother. It was huge! It was the size a blue whale at least!

Then, the mother woke up. “Merde!” Francis cried out as he jumped back, avoiding the hit. The mother turned her eyes on him. “I’ll kill you before you can cry out for help!” He shouted, as the battle began. It was honestly too fast for most of the nations to see. Japan could only see due to his ninja training, and China due to his age and experience. Italy, of course, could see every move clearly, as he was actually much faster than Francis was.

In the end, Francis was able to kill the mother Contaminoid. The nations cheered at his victory, forgetting that Francis was going to die here. France, Canada and Italy seemed to be the only ones that didn’t forget what was about to occur.

Francis was breathing hard, and the acidity of the air looked to be burning him a bit more rapidly. He was badly banged-up and bruised, but miraculously, he had no broken bones or major injuries. He channeled more kei to his legs, and jumped out of the fissure he’d gone down into to find the mother.

Francis could see the Regios in the distance, moving away to safety as he sighed in relief. But there were still hundreds of larvae about, looking for an easy meal. Francis started to fight his way back through, in a vain attempt to catch up to the quickly retreating Regios.

“They just left him?!” America cried out in anger, Canada echoing his twin.

“They’ll send out a rescue party once the Regios is safe. Likely, they’ve already fought off most of the remaining larvae in Jubil, and they’ll send out the rescue party shortly.” Italy said gravely, knowing that the rescue party would be too late.

They watched as Francis continued to fight the larvae, though with much more trouble than when he’d first joined the battle. It only showed the nations just how taxing it really was to fight these things.

“In case any of you were wondering, the reason why he’s doing so much worse is because the acidic air is getting to him… It burns terribly, but it’s intensified by open wounds. It’s slowing him down. He’s also starting to suffer from kei exhaustion, having to use it constantly to keep himself standing.” Italy reminded them. He had a pretty good guess what was about to occur… How Francis was about to die…

Then the unthinkable happened—Francis’ kei finally ran out, and his legs crumpled beneath him. The other nations cried out in shock. “Heh. Brûle en enfer!” (Burn in hell!) Francis cried as he was immediately pounced upon by the larvae, and literally torn apart and eaten alive by the Contaminoids—he never screamed. Only his Dite was left behind, as the memory faded out.

Italy remained silent as they found themselves back in the Aurora. The nations were sickened and shocked. That’s two nations that they’d watched die, and nothing they could do about it.

“Veneziano?” Romano asked, worried about his little brother.

“You know, I’d always wondered exactly how you died. Fratello and I returned about a week later. We’d forgotten something, I think, but when we saw the state that Jubil was in… and that man told us about what happened…” Italy said quietly, his bangs shadowing his eyes, making his eyes unreadable.

Italy reached into his left pants pocket, and pulled out something wrapped in a dirty white cloth that looked to have yellowed over the years. Silently, he tossed it to France, who caught it on reflex. “It’s yours.” He stated quietly, as France unwrapped it to reveal his Dite. His eyes widened. The whole thing felt so much more real. Holding the physical proof…

“You’ve kept it all this time?” He asked.

“Si. It was all they found of you… all that was left. After we heard the news, Fratello and I decided to head to Oweyr, the only Regios with English soil, and the home of Arthur Kirkland… We decided to tell you the news.”

France, curious, decided to try something. He’d been trying to sense his natural kei flow since Italy had explained how it worked. He tried channeling it into the Dite, and whispered the words, “Restoration, 0-1.” Amazingly, it transformed into a rather light Sniper’s rifle, but not the MAS one. Just a normal—for a Dite, at least—royal blue sniper’s rifle. “Magnifique~” He cried out, catching the attention of the other nations.

“WOAH! Dude! That’s sooo cool! You can use it!” America cried out, somewhat jealous, but mostly awed.

“Oui~” France said, as it deactivated. He swayed slightly, causing some alarm in the other nations. Italy steadied him—when did he get over there? None of the other nations had seen him move.

Italy sighed. “You’re not ready to use a Dite yet. Activating it is one thing, but using it? Not yet. Your kei reserves are still pathetically low, and there’s not even a snowball’s chance in hell of you actually firing it yet.” He explained, making France huff as he was able to steady himself again, the dizziness gone. “But good job on activating it.” He added, pretending not to notice France’s glow of pride.

“Perhaps we should take a short break?” England suggested.

“How? I am thinking that the Aurora does not want us to be taking break yet, Дa?” Russia said, making a few of the nations who’d forgotten that he was there, jump.

“Ve… I suppose we could take a short one…” Italy said, before turning to the sky. “Saya? Can we take a short rest? We need some time to digest what we’ve just seen.”

“Of course, Feli…” Saya’s voice sounded distant and echo-y, but it was unmistakably hers.

“Grazie.” Italy replied. There was a flash, and the nations found themselves in a sitting room. There was a refrigerator and icebox in the corner, next to some cupboards.

“I assume that there’s food in here?” Prussia asked, as he went to the fridge. “YES! The Awesome me has found Awesome Beer!” He cried with joy, tossing a bottle to Germany, who caught it gratefully.

A few nations quickly raided the cupboard, fridge, and freezer, finding their favorite drinks and snacks. Some still felt too ill to eat, given what they’d seen, and decided to head to one of the adjourning rooms to rest, or to have a cup of tea to help calm them. Others, such as Italy, weren’t as bothered by what they’d seen—not that they didn’t care, just that they’d seen similar scenes before—and chowed down for some much-needed energy.

“We’ll rest here for a few hours, before continuing with the memories.” Italy said, before a few nations could sneak out for a nap. “Those who wish to sleep will be woken up about half an hour before we continue the memories; that way, you’ll have some time for tea or coffee or whatever you want.”

“Right. I’m heading for a rest.” England said. He had a feeling that he’d need it.

“Oui… Me, too.” France said, still a little pale. Canada and America also decided to rest.

“Ve… I’ll wake you up in a few hours.” Italy said quietly to them. They nodded, and headed to the bedrooms.

“This will be a very long day.” Italy sighed to himself, as he looked at the digital clock on the stove. It read noon. “A very, very long day, indeed.” He knew which memory would come next. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to see it or not.

 

 

 

Words: 15,177/15,255

Pages: 28

Edited: 04/18/2019

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Mancante

Three hours of rest, food, good conversation and a few party games does wonders for a foul mood. After only a few hours, the nations were all looking much better, and some were even laughing and poking jokes at each other. Those who were napping had been woken up, and everyone had eaten something—even if it was just a light lunch. Italy and China both made sure that everyone had time to digest their food before they even considered continuing the memories—didn’t want anyone to be sick.

“Is everybody ready?” Italy reluctantly asked. Some of the nations tensed, losing the light atmosphere they’d just had.

“As ready as we’ll ever be.” England replied, surprising a few nations. He was likely going to be shown next, right? So far, everyone but the Italy twins had died. It was a sobering thought.

“All right.” Italy nodded, before turning to the white ceiling. “Saya? We’re ready to continue.” There was no verbal reply.

The next memory faded in. The Regios they now found themselves in greatly resembled London, minus the smog and mugginess. “Welcome to Oweyr.” Italy said, as they looked around themselves.

England, in particular, looked around with awe. He could practically feel his lands here. The connection to this place was so unique… He suddenly understood Francis’ decision to fight and defend Jubil. He knew that he’d do the same for Oweyr.

Feliciano and Lovino were apparently asking for directions to somewhere, as they were pointed towards a grand manor. They walked up to the gate, and hit the intercom button. “Ciao, is Arthur here?” Feliciano asked, as Lovino scoffed under his breath. “He’d better be here, damnit! We’ve spent two fucking years looking for the stupid Scone Bastard.”

“I-Italy?! Is that you?!” Arthur’s voice came across the intercom. “Hold on, I’ll open the gates for you!” There was the sound of hurried footsteps, a loud thud, and some cursing, but the gate finally opened.

They were invited into the house by a rather excited—and slightly limping, due to a stubbed toe—Arthur Kirkland.

“Welcome~! It’s so good to see that you two are still kicking. Please come in!” He grinned, stepping aside so they can come in. He directed them to the chairs in his living room and served the two some tea. “Would you like me to make you some snacks? I was just thinking about making some scones?”

Lovino and Feliciano’s eyes went comically wide, as they shook their heads, saying “No! No thanks! We’re fine!”

“We just ate, actually!” Lovino quickly said, while Feliciano nodded his head rapidly beside his brother, praying that he wouldn’t be forced to endure the torturous blobs that England called scones.

“Oh, shame. Perhaps next time?” Arthur said, as he munched on something that came out of his pocket. They didn’t know what it was supposed to be, but it certainly didn’t look edible.

“Ah~ I want some crumpets now.” England said, as the others America cried out, “That’s supposed to be a cookie?!”

“They’re called crumpets!

“Dude, either way, that’s not food.”

“It is food! And it’s delicious!

“Dude, those things you call scones aren’t food either.” America said, ignoring England’s protests.

“My scones are scrumptious!” England cried.

“Non, they are death.” France bluntly stated, receiving a heated glare from England, who looked about to argue the point more, when Lovino finally spoke. “We met France a couple of years ago. We’ve been looking for you since then.” His tone was solemn, and Arthur lowered his supposed crumpet.

“Why? What’s happened?”

“Francis is… dead.” Feliciano finally stated. Arthur looked shocked, his crumpet falling to the floor, as he blinked slowly.

“I’m sorry… I must’ve heard you wrong.” He tried to pick up his teacup, but he was shaking badly, and set it down for fear of breaking it.

“Francis Bonnefoy, personification of France, died two years ago.” Lovino finally said, figuring that it was better to get it out in the open now, rather than draw it out.

“But… How? I saw him just four years ago!” Arthur cried out in frustration and pain and loss. “We’d just become friends! He can’t be dead! He just can’t be!” He continued, now up and pacing, nearly ripping out his hair, as his forest-green eyes turned misty. He was still shaking terribly with suppressed sobs. “First Alfred, and now Francis?! NO! I—! They can’t just leave me alone like this! They—! They can’t, I—! I won’t allow it! I… I just…” He suddenly fell to his knees, as thick tears streamed down his face, as he cried to the heavens.

His anguished scream shook every nation to the core. England seemed to be shaking, as well, and France took him into a hug, making sure that nobody else noticed. Everyone was still watching the scene. It was like a train-wreck; too terrible to tear their eyes away from.

“I’m so sorry… I’ve failed you… as a father… as a friend… as a nation… as a person… as a brother…” Arthur whispered, though everyone caught the heavy words. They weighed on every nation’s heart like lead.

Silently, England pulled away from France, his red eyes now the only sign of his moment of weakness. For once, he was glad that France always wore that flashy blue cape; it covered the tearstains rather well. France only kept a hand on his shoulder to assure him that he was still there. Though unbeknownst to the two of them, America and Canada had seen the whole thing, though they weren’t about to tell anyone.

The scene changed again, and seemed to fast-forward almost immediately. It showed flashes of the Italy twins helping Arthur work through his depression; helping him go to cafés, and even attempt to teach him how to cook—which ultimately failed, but it’s the thought that counts. Hell, they even put their own lives at risk to cheer him up by eating an entire plateful of his scones. The other nations shivered. Perhaps the Italy twins were braver than they gave them credit for. After all, the apocalypse was one thing, but England’s Scones? That was an entirely different level of terrifying.

England couldn’t help but smile at their hard work of cheering him up. He knew he wasn’t the best cook in the world, despite how much he denied it, but it still made him incredibly happy to see them eat his scones. “How long did you stay?” He asked curiously.

“About a year and a half. We shouldn’t have stayed so long, though…” Italy muttered the last part nearly silently to himself. In fact, only Romano, Japan, and Germany heard, and they only heard because they were all right next to him.

There was a quick flash of the Italy twins leaving, on what Italy explained was a roaming bus—which carried people from one Regios to another—before the memory finally slowed down to show Arthur alone in his home.

The nations were immediately on edge. Every time they’d seen someone other than the Italy twins alone, they’d died. Was Arthur going to die, too?

Again, the Regios shook, and the nations all mentally agreed that they’d become much too accustomed to the sensation. Arthur stumbled to the window, as the now familiar alarms started blaring, signaling another Contaminoid attack.

“Arthur has strong Dark Magic.” Italy suddenly said, as they watched Arthur grab his wand and start packing light, as if he was going to run, before leaving the duffle bag by the door, waving his wand over it while muttering some gibberish, and grabbing his Dite, as he prepared for battle.

“Magic is the natural opposite of kei energy in many ways. Since his Dark Magic is so strong, his kei energy is incredibly lacking for a nation. It’s still much stronger than a human’s, but in about 4,500 years from now, his current kei levels will be the average human kei levels. His magic literally stunts his kei organ’s growth.” Italy explained, as they watched Arthur run out the door, to join in the battle. This new information only served to make them more worried.

Just as they were readying themselves as best they could to watch another gruesome death, the memory suddenly changed.

“What the hell?! Why’d it just change like that?! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see him die, or anything, but… still!” Prussia cried out.

They looked around to see Oweyr in ruins. It was absolutely destroyed. The eerie silence and the whistle of the wind only served to unnerve the observing nations. The acidic air ate away at any organic substance it could find in the wake of the air filter’s absence.

“Out of nearly 50,000 people, roughly 400 or so survived and moved on to live in different Regios.” Italy said quietly as everyone looked around. It was silent… The Contaminoids were gone, it seemed, leaving unnaturally still shells and corpses from the battle.

The nations all jumped—especially Italy (due to having actually lived in this time, and having firsthand knowledge of the dangers of said time)—when something moved in the rubble near them. Then, they heard a familiar groan. They watched in disbelief as Arthur Kirkland climbed out of the rubble, bloody and terribly bruised, but alive. He appeared to be favoring his left leg, and he gripped his left shoulder with a wince of pain. He was dirty and badly injured, and he had a deep gash on his forehead, as blood flowed freely over his right eye and down his face, causing him to close his eye. He lifted his right arm, and roughly wiped the blood obscuring his vision away, as he looked around him in despair. He had both red and green blood all over him as he limped towards the ruins of his manor.

“Damned bloody filth monsters. Magic-resistant bastards.” He muttered to himself, angry that he’d let his entire city… his people die. “What would France say if he could see me now? Ah, you’re probably laughing at me right now, you bloody frog… Heh… no… you’re not laughing… you’re crying for me, aren’t you? Well, I’m coming up there sooner or later, you damn frog! And if I find you crying for me at all, I swear that I’ll beat your bloody face black and blue!” He yelled to the skies, as if having a one-sided argument with Francis.

“Mon cher, I would never laugh at you about somezing like this.” France confirmed, glad that Arthur had enough sense to see that he wouldn’t laugh.

Arthur staggered over to the ruins of his house, muttering about ‘bloody frogs’ and ‘damn bloody filth monsters’. He bent down, and miraculously, his duffle bag that he’d packed before heading out to fight was intact.

“Good. My magic worked.” Arthur stated, as the other nations looked to England for an explanation.

“Apparently my future self placed a stasis and protection spell on my—I mean his—duffle bag so that it wouldn’t take any damage and it would still be okay when I—I mean he, damnit—went to retrieve it.” England explained, finding it much more frustrating than expected to speak of himself in third person. How did Italy manage it so flawlessly? Oh yeah, it’s his past self, and he can use first person. Bloody confusing, that’s what this was.

They watched in silence as Arthur grabbed his duffle bag, and started walking in a random direction. He stopped at the edge of the decimated Regios. “I’ve no place to return to.” He stated quietly, looking back at the ruins of Oweyr. “I’ve no place to go, either.” He looked to the skies once more. “Francis… if you can hear me, send some luck my way, ‘ol chap, will you? I’d prefer not to see your frog-face for a few more centuries at least.” He looked forward with determination, as he started walking at a slow, but purposeful pace. “As much as I wish you were here, I’m not ready to join you and Alfred just yet.”

The memory faded again, only to be replaced by the whiteness of the Aurora. The nations were caught between digesting what they’d just witnessed, and wanting to see more to find out what happened to Arthur. They looked at Italy for an explanation.

“Romano and I didn’t discover the ruins of Oweyr until a thousand years after its destruction.” He didn’t explain beyond that. The nations figured that he didn’t know. If he and his brother had stumbled upon the ruins a thousand years later, then there’s really no way of knowing what had happened to Arthur.

Prussia suddenly plopped down on the ground. “Ze Awesome Me, is Awesomely tired. We’ve been watching these memories for how long, now? We need a break! Even my Awesomeness is tired!” He complained.

“We just took a break, Prussia.” Germany stated, pinching the bridge of his nose to stave off a headache.

The other nations, however, all murmured agreements to Prussia’s statement. Though they’d just taken a break, a few hours just wasn’t enough. They were all emotionally and physically drained. They’d seen two—possibly three—deaths, seen the apocalypse, discovered things about the Italy twins that nobody knew, found out that Italy had been suffering for 5,000 years, before traveling back to their current time to fix everything that they’d messed up, and to top it all off, they had just skimmed through roughly five centuries of future history. They were tired, and many of them had migraines starting, if not already full-blown. Time travel was confusing as hell.

“Saya? You there?” Italy asked the nothingness.

“Yes… I am…” Her voice seemed to come from everywhere, and nowhere all at once, though it sounded faint, as if she was talking to them from the other end of a long tunnel.

“We’d like a place to rest before resuming the memories. Do you think you could help us out?” He asked, uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping in the Aurora.

“Of course, Feli.” Her voice sounded a bit clearer, but still far away. Out of nowhere, a large pile of sleeping bags appeared—one for each of them. “I apologize that it can’t be more… the Aurora is… difficult to work with, sometimes… Time has no meaning here… sleep until you wake… I will use my powers to watch over you as best I can, but…” Saya trailed off, but Italy seemed to understand.

“I’ll keep watch for Contaminoids. Thank you.” He stated. The others froze.

“Y-you mean those things are here?!” America stuttered, terrified at the thought, not that anyone blamed him.

“Si… According to Saya, there’s the possibility that the Contaminoids may find us. But don’t worry. I can fight them off no problem, okay? Even a mature one shouldn’t give me too much trouble.” If it’s alone. Italy reassured them, but at their questioning stares, he decided to explain a bit.

“Contaminoids have three main life-stages. A larva is the first stage, and the most commonly seen. Those are the babies, and can either fly or not. They’re also the most numerous. You’ve already seen plenty of those.” The others nodded their heads. “The next stage is the Queen, or mother. That’s the one that you saw Francis defeat.” He explained. “The third and final stage is the Mature Contaminoid. By this stage, they can no longer procreate, but they become exponentially stronger. Since they primarily fly by this stage, with each molting process, their legs get smaller, so it’s easier to tell how strong they are by how small their legs are. A Contaminoid has never been known to die of old age. A Mature Contaminoid is extremely large, depending. Sometimes, they can be small, but 99% of the time, they’re at least twice the size of a Queen, if not 3-4 times as large.” The other nations stared at Italy with wide eyes and dropped jaws—with a few exceptions such as Russia, Japan, etc… to save face.

“And you can defeat one all by yourself, aru?! That’s amazing!” China exclaimed, unable to see Italy—or anyone really—defeating something so large alone.

“Well, it comes from experience.” He stated grimly, remembering a time when he was almost unable to defeat a Mature Contaminoid with Romano, and it almost cost them Glendan.

“What with our Regios actually seeking them out, and whatnot. We actually have a tradition on Glendan. If any Mature Contaminoids escape us or the Heaven’s Blades alive, then they are given a name.”

“Heaven’s Blades…?” Japan asked quietly.

“Oh, it’ll come up later.” Italy stated, as the others groaned at his answer. He only chuckled quietly to himself as he unrolled his own bedroll. “We should take shifts, just in case. I’ll take the first one, and Japan, you can take the second one. We’ll just choose someone to wake up after that, and if you feel like you honestly cannot stay up to keep watch, then don’t force it—it’s safer for everyone that way, just pick someone else.” Italy said, as he sat down on his sleeping bag as the others all set up their sleeping areas.

Everyone settled down in their own sleeping bags—though there was a little incident with France and England for a little while, but it was quickly resolved. Within minutes, everyone but Italy was asleep. Somehow, the whiteness of the Aurora had dimmed to a comfortable sleeping light level (some sort of darker grey shade), but what really impressed Italy was that the night sky—in all its TF glory—shone comfortingly above their heads. The sky wasn’t from the Nations’ time, but rather from around 5,000 TF. Italy traced the constellations in his mind, as he traveled through time in his memories, both past and future.

He thought about his fights, battles, laughter, and joy. He remembered the hard times with blood and tears, and the somehow addictive feeling of fighting the Contaminoids for your life. He remembered his people and Holy Rome, and Mr. Austria and Miss Hungary from his childhood. He remembered the smiling face of his Grandpa Rome, and the fun and innocent times he and Romano had spent with him. He remembered the World Wars and how he’d been forced to betray Germany and Japan. He remembered making up with them afterwards, and how he’d been so incredibly happy that they had forgiven him. He remembered fighting in the mafia alongside his brother, both of them becoming addicted to the adrenaline-filled life of crime.

He remembered the complete fear that had consumed him when those nuclear power plants had gone off, and the agony of his people. He remembered the first time he’d looked upon the finished Glendan with his brother, and the pride they’d felt at their creation. He remembered the first time he’d learned that Saya had somehow become part of Glendan, and essentially became its soul. He remembered the Contaminoids that they’d encountered, and their first time fighting them with a Dite. He remembered the first time he’d been able to pick up a Dite without it blowing up on him. He remembered the sadness he’d felt and heartbreak of leaving his homeland for the safety—if it could be called that—of Japan. He remembered finding France and England, and then finding out about France’s death, and finding Oweyr completely destroyed and almost entirely covered by sand a thousand years later…

He remembered clearly how much the acidic air burned when one tried to breathe or if it came into contact with one’s skin or eyes for any length of time. He remembered every hard fight he’d had to fight, and every friend—human or nation—that he’d seen fall. He remembered the birth of the Heaven’s Blades, and the creation of the Celestial Blades. He remembered a small, orphan boy that he’d almost adopted as his own, but named nonetheless. He remembered saying a teary farewell to that boy, Layfon, when he’d had to continue his own journey. He remembered the loneliness that he’d felt, for so long… that he still felt, like a giant gaping hole in his being, constantly aching to be filled, but nothing to fill it with.

He remembered. And they didn’t. And that, perhaps, hurt him more than he was willing to admit. Those irreplaceable bonds… friendships made anew, as old rivalries were buried. All lost… forever… Because seeing the memories, and living them were two completely different things.

Italy didn’t know when he’d started to cry, the tears silently cascading down his face, illuminated by the stars of the night, as he continued to gaze skyward. He heard, but didn’t register Japan walking up silently next to him. He didn’t know when he’d become aware of Japan’s quiet presence beside him. He just needed that ache to go away.

“Japan?” He asked quietly, almost feebly, sounding so lost and pleading, that it caught Japan off-guard. Japan remained silent, waiting for Italy to continue. “Why did you have to die?” He asked.

Japan closed his eyes. So he died, then. He and Italy had always been good friends, ever since they’d first met all those many years ago. “Sumimasen. I do not know.” He stated quietly.

“You left me alone… So alone… I know you didn’t but… it still hurts… Nobody remembers… I feel like I’m not even Italy anymore, but… How do I go back to being the ‘me’ that everyone expects me to be, when I don’t even know who he was? This is me now, and there’s nothing I can do about it. But I don’t want everyone to hate me, or leave me because I can’t be the Italy that they want… I know it’s a silly fear, but with everything that I’ve lost… Is it wrong for me to want to keep everyone close? I can’t help this fear that everyone will die again… that everyone will leave me all alone, and I won’t be able to do anything to stop it. And what’s worse is that there’s this gaping hole in my chest that just aches, and aches, and it just. Won’t. Stop. Aching!” By this time, Italy was quietly sobbing, and Japan had dropped all pretenses for his friend, and actually comforted him with a hug, holding the broken Italian as he helped him gather the pieces of himself.

Normally, Italy could handle emotional stress and issues like a pro. He’d been doing it for most of his life, anyways; wearing a cheerful mask to hide his pain and emotional turmoil to make others happy and brighten their day… he’d been doing it ever since his Grandfather’s death. But experiencing 500 years worth of horrible memories—memories that he’d already lived through—in less than a day was just too much for even Italy to handle. He was eternally grateful that out of all the nations there, it was Japan who found him. After all, Japan would understand, and he was one of the only nations that wouldn’t push Italy for answers.

“Arigatou.” Italy said in fluent Japanese, though it had a strange accent that Japan couldn’t place; likely from the future version of the language. Speaking in another nation’s language to said nation was either for that nation’s benefit, to keep something secret (usually from the ears of humans, as most nations could speak multiple languages), or to convey strong emotions, such as love, hate, or—in this case—gratefulness.

Japan only hummed in acknowledgement, as Italy started to doze off, the day’s emotional rollercoaster and the night’s emotional outlet finally catching up to him.

“Sleep, Itary-kun. I’ll take the watch from here. Buonanotte.” Japan stated. Italy was almost too tired to register that the Japanese man had spoken Italian. He smiled, knowing that their friendship was still as strong as ever, as he finally succumbed to his body’s demand for rest, slipping into dreams of the future and past, filled with laughter and a blond haired blue-eyed little boy with a Germanic and Italian accent.

 

A/N: Sorry for the short chapter. It’d been pre-divided, so the next one will be longer. It also shouldn’t take me months and months and months to update again this time. Sorry it’s been taking me so long.

Life’s been getting in the way. :/ I’m moving back home to take care of my sick and dying mother (temporarily leaving college to do so), so I’ve been rather busy. Rest assured, that none of my Hetalia stories will be abandoned. ^_^ The next update of this story should be relatively soon, though. It should be out by spring at the latest! :D

Love you all! Please review!

 

Words: 4,087

Edited: 04/18/2019

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Viaggi

The next morning showed Italy waking up before anyone else—out of pure habit. Japan had, at some point in the night, handed off his watch to China. “Ohayo…” He mumbled in Japanese, as China turned to greet him.

“Zăo ān, Italy. You’re up early, aru…”

“Ve~ I’m used to it. I’d get up early every day to further my research.” He stated, rubbing his eyes as he stretched in a cat-like manner.

Italy ended up sitting next to China, as they watched the sunrise—how there was a sunrise in the Aurora, they didn’t know, but questioning it ended up giving them both a headache, so they just decided to enjoy it—in companionable silence, enjoying the peace while it lasted. Japan awoke not too long after Italy, and joined them; sitting on Italy’s other side. He made no mention of what happened the night before, and Italy was grateful.

About an hour later, everyone was up and about, though admittedly rather cranky. France had somehow migrated in his sleep to England’s sleeping bag, and started cuddling him. Of course, Japan and Italy—the latter for blackmail purposes more than anything—took a picture of the two cuddling together, before England woke up and started a typical Frangland fight. Of course, this fight woke up the other nations, except for America who could sleep through pretty much anything—only Canada, Italy, and Romano seemed to know how he was able to do so. However, once Russia got involved, and started kolkolkoling, America sprang up as if someone had suddenly given him a double shot of espresso. Needless to say, it was havoc. Finally, the only nation who was trying to continue to sleep had had enough.

Canada had many secrets that the other nations didn’t know, though admittedly, most were only secrets because nobody noticed him. Among them, was the little detail that he was not a morning person. Even America was scared of his twin if he was woken up too early. Canada may have been the more docile twin, but he was actually stronger than America; he just preferred not to use his monstrous strength often. But if there was one thing that pissed the normally peaceful Canadian off—other than interrupting his Hockey—it was being woken up too early, with no pancakes, no maple syrup—or really cheap maple syrup, how insulting!—and loud chaos.

So when the Canadian had finally had enough, he slowly sat up in his sleeping bag, with a dark glare on his face. America, recognizing the look immediately, did the intelligent thing and got as far away from the chaos his brother was glaring at as possible. Italy and Romano, while not knowing the Canadian as well, recognized the glare as one that they commonly wore when someone had crossed a dangerous line. And seeing as America was trying to get as far away from the mess as possible, they took the hint and also moved away, with Japan and China following their lead. Prussia had noticed shortly after America had, and knew that he’d be better off with the quiet group cowering behind the rocks. “It isn’t Unawesome if it saves you from Birdie’s wrath.” He muttered under his breath.

Unfortunately for the other nations (including England and France, who normally would’ve recognized the look and run for the hills, but due to being engrossed in their argument, completely missed the warning signs), nobody else recognized the danger that they were undoubtedly in.

“ENOUGH!” Canada yelled—actually yelled—in anger. England and France, recognizing the danger too late, ‘eeped’ and hugged each other for dear life. What happened next was a thorough tongue-lashing (and a few fists) from a very angry Canadian. Russia was quickly reminded of the reason why he feared the normally silent nation.

By the end of a full 30-minute rant, the nations that were yelled at felt like five-year-old children being scolded by a beloved grandparent—which was typically much worse than being scolded by ones parent.

“Now, if you’ll behave like the adults you claim to be…” Canada trailed off ominously, leaving the nations to shudder at the threats that their minds supplied to them. How they could’ve ever forgotten this nation, nobody knew.

Heh, no wonder America often asks Canada to watch his 50 kids when he needs a break. I always wondered why they seemed to be more obedient for Canada than they were for Romano and I. Italy thought to himself, remembering how he and Romano had accidentally discovered that America’s 50 states had personifications a few decades ago, and offered to help him watch them (though their ages ranged from 8 & 7 [Alaska and Hawaii], to 17. The original 13 colonies were the only ones who were 18-25.). They hadn’t minded too badly for the twins, but some of them had tried to test them. Needless to say, they didn’t test them for long.

After a rather awkward breakfast where the nations tried to appease or avoid the Canadian (which Prussia, Italy, Romano, and the FACE family chuckled at, because they knew that the Canadian was the type of person to explode or rant or whatever, get it out of his system, and then put the entire matter behind him. In his mind, he stated his opinion clearly and illustrated his point, so there was no need to dwell about it any longer, so long as they didn’t make the same mistake again) they all stood around, wondering what to do.

Quite suddenly their entire environment went back to the familiar whiteness that they’d associated with the Aurora. Many nations tensed, knowing that this meant more memories were about to be shown.

Then the whiteness faded again, until they found themselves in another unfamiliar Regios. Italy’s eyes sparkled with excitement; he knew exactly what memory this was, and it was one that he enjoyed quite a bit.

“This is 583 TF. Welcome,” He started, “to Umevokin.” He spread his arms wide, as they gazed at the strange city. What made it so strange was that half of it was covered in snow and frost and all things winter, while the other half seemed to be in an eternal summer. There was even a small volcano (fake, of course) on the summer side.

“The fuck is up with this place? It’s all… weird…” Romano stared at it with confusion. There was a small divider between the two seasons. To trap in the temperatures, presumably.

“It’s a unique Regios that represents summer and winter. Most Regios have weather-controlled environments, so they never experience the seasons. Occasionally they might make it a little foggy, or rainy, but water is a precious resource that can’t be used so flippantly.” Italy explained, a joy and glee shining in his eyes that they hadn’t seen in quite some time, as he excitedly explained about the Regios. “I helped build this Regios with Romano, and we decided that the joys of the Seasons shouldn’t be lost to time, and to recreate it here~! It’s one of my favorite Regios! Last I heard, it was still alive and wondering around when I jumped back in time.” Italy smiled, as the nations relaxed once they realized that this Regios wouldn’t be destroyed like the others.

“Another thing that makes this Regios unique, is that it holds two Electronic Fairies.” Italy added, as Feliciano and Lovino finally came into the memory.

“Are we sure this’ll work? Did you double-check your calculations?” Lovino asked, staring intently at a notebook in his hand as they walked towards the center of the city.

“Si. I checked them five times. Relax. Everything’ll be fine~ We helped build this Regios, after all, I’m sure that the spirit will grant one of us a power. If nothing else, it might know where the Time Electronic Fairy is.” Feliciano stated, looking eager, an excited bounce in his step.

“Alright, fine, damnit. But it better work this time, okay?” Lovino huffed, following after his brother with his trademark scowl.

“Lighten up, Fratello, or they’ll never pick you~” Feliciano teased lightly.

“Che. ‘Lighten up’ he says. ‘They’ll never pick you’ he says. Some brother he is.” Lovino mumbled to himself.

“Ve~ I heard that! Just for that, I’ll hide all the pasta sauce I managed to make~” Feliciano chirped happily, as he dashed away.

“W-wait! Come back! Don’t you dare hide that fucking sauce!” Lovino yelled as he gave chase, but the nations could easily tell that the two brothers were only playing around, especially when Feliciano started a snowball fight, which Lovino gleefully joined in on (as well as any nearby kids).

By the time that the snowball fight ended (hours later for Feliciano and Lovino, but only a few minutes to the nations watching), Lovino and Feliciano were sopping wet, rather cold, and grinning like loons. They walked across the street to the Summer side of the Regios to dry off and warm up.

Feliciano plopped down on the grass spread-eagle, as he gave a contented sigh, followed by Lovino. They laid there for a few minutes in silence before Feliciano finally spoke.

“How long has it been since we’ve laughed like that fratello? Since we’ve had that much fun?”

“I… don’t know… I can’t remember the last time I laughed like that.” Lovino answered honestly.

“Neither can I…”

It was silent for a few more minutes. “Come on,” Lovino finally said, as he stood up; both of them now dry from the summer heat. He offered his fratellino a hand up. “We should get going if we’re going to reach the Core tonight.”

Feliciano nodded his head as Lovino helped him up. “Right.”

“Ze Awesome Me is still confused.” Prussia interrupted.

“Ve~ Every Regios has a Core. It’s the main engine room, and the Heart of the Regios. That’s usually where the Electronic Fairy is. Sometimes they’ll explore their Regios and hide among their people, but they usually stay in the Core. Romano and I were heading to the Core of Umevokin to meet with the Electronic Fairy there to attempt to gain some sort of power or ability. They don’t part with their powers lightly, as they can only ever give them away once per millennia, in the best of cases.” Italy explained, as the memory skipped to show the two brothers standing in a large room with many moving and pumping parts. It looked incredibly complex, and the nations had to remind themselves that the Italy twins had made this.

“Ve~ We’re finally here.” Feliciano stated softly before calling out, “Umevokin! Please come out~! We’d like to ask you if you could grant one of us your ability~!”

“Tch! Like it’d come out that easily, fratellino! Honestly! Didn’t I teach you any—” But whatever Lovino was going to say was cut off by a chuckle. They turned to see a glowing three-tailed fox. It had thick white fur, the color of freshly fallen snow, and icy-blue socks, tipped ears, and tipped tails, with elegant, frost-like swirls in a slightly lighter shade of icy-blue stretching throughout its body. Its eyes were a deep sapphire blue color, and it seemed to be chuckling in amusement.

“Umevokin?” Feliciano asked hesitantly. The fox chuckled a bit more, as it moved a bit closer to them, examining them. It looked at Lovino, before huffing, and turning instead to Feliciano.

“OI! What the fuck was that?!” Lovino yelled, offended.

Before they knew it, another fox appeared beside the first. It, unlike the white one, was a fiery red color, with black socks, soot-colored tipped ears, and golden tipped tails (it also had 3 tails). Its eyes were a fiery golden-red color, and it seemed as if it were radiating a significant amount of heat.

It didn’t seem to be chuckling, but instead gazed at Lovino with a critical eye. After a few minutes of breathless silence, the two foxes looked at one another, before nodding their heads. They started glowing intensely, the white one, blue, and the second one red. Feliciano and Lovino had to look away before it finally died down. In place of the two foxes, stood two boys about the age of 12.

The first boy was very pale and had long white hair with blue tips, and a pair of icy-blue tipped white fox ears atop his head. He also had three white fox tails with icy-blue tips, and intelligent sapphire-blue eyes. He wore a wicked smirk that just screamed mischievous prankster. He wore a white garb that reminded them of something from Japan’s people, with an icy-blue sash and a snowflake design throughout.

The second boy, just an inch or two taller than the first, had long fiery red hair with black tips, and a pair of matching red soot-tipped fox ears on his head as well. He, too, had the red fox’s three tails swaying behind him languidly, as golden-red eyes gazed intensely—though not nearly as intense as before—at Lovino, just as the white one was gazing with great interest at Feliciano. He wore a bright red outfit, with flames at the bottom working their way up to his middle, and a golden sash, and his skin held a rich healthy tan.

“Greetings. We are Umevokin.” They stated at the same time.

“Two?!” Lovino cried out, shocked.

“Yes. We are twins, like the two of you. We remember you.” The red one said.

“You can call me Yuki~” The white one said cheerfully, much like Feliciano would.

“And I am Natsu.” The red one stated with a slight scowl.

“What do you mean by you remember us?” Feliciano asked.

“You’re our fathers~ You created the Regios Umevokin, and so created us~! We sorta took on parts of your personalities, too, but that’s okay~! We don’t mind!” Yuki chirped as he leaned against the railing, his tails swinging in amusement.

“We… created you?” Lovino asked, shocked. “I thought you were all born in Sheniebel!”

“Ve~ Sheniebel is the only Regios with the Spirit Copy System, or SCS for short. It has a large tree, which creates Electronic Fairies, thus allowing more Regios to be built. Most Regios have Electronic Fairies from the SCS, but a few managed to personify themselves. Interestingly enough, the only Regios that I know of that have natural personifications, were those created by nations.” Italy explained at their confused looks.

“We were born naturally. We’re here because you built us. Now, I doubt you came for a simple ‘hello’ visit, dads.” Natsu said with a slight sneer. Obviously, he was a little mad at them for not visiting them, but the twins could still see the love, respect, and affection shining in his eyes, though it was very well hidden.

“Ve! Please don’t be mad, Natsu~! We’ll come back and visit more! We promise!” Feliciano quickly said, hating that his ‘son’ was angry with him.

“See?! I told you Papa wouldn’t like that!” Yuki said with a glare at Natsu as he gave Feliciano a hug. “It’s okay Papa! I’m not mad at you.”

“Che.” Natsu rolled his eyes in a very Romano manner. Lovino, on the other hand, was still trying to come to terms with the fact that he had two sons that were personifications like them.

“Oh, fucking joy. I feel a headache coming on.” Lovino muttered to himself, missing Natsu’s amused glance. “Look, we just need to know if you’re willing to grant us your ability. We’re looking for an Electronic Fairy of Time. There’s a rumor that there’s one Spirit that can grant someone the ability to go back in time, and we’d like to go back and prevent billions of innocent people from dying, including our close friends.” Lovino finally said.

It was silent for a few tense moments, as Natsu and Yuki exchanged glances, before Yuki finally spoke, his playful demeanor and tone suddenly gone and replaced by a serious expression. “We each have one power to give. I’m willing to give you mine, Papa Feli, but the thing about Regios Abilities is that the person that they’re granted to must be compatible. Normally, a human can only hold one power tops, any more and they’ll die. But you two are nations, or former at least. You’ll be able to handle many Regios Abilities. However, please remember that the more Regios abilities you gain, the fewer you’ll be compatible with. Each one you gain will have to also be compatible in some way with the new ability you’re trying to gain. If you gain a wind-type ability, you more than likely won’t be able to gain an earth-based ability even if you would’ve been compatible otherwise.” Yuki held out a clear orb, the size of his hand. “This crystal is connected to my core abilities. If it glows for you, then you’ll be compatible with my powers, and I’ll grant them to you.” He said with a smile.

“Papa Lovi…” Natsu spoke in a firm, yet soft tone. “I’m also willing to grant you my power, but like Papa Feli, you need to be compatible with it.” He also produced a clear orb.

As Feliciano took Yuki’s orb and channeled his kei into it as instructed, it glowed a brilliant icy-blue color, and Natsu’s orb glowed a fierce fiery red.

Natsu and Yuki both smiled, Yuki’s excited and happy, while Natsu’s was more reserved, though still pleased. They said something in an unfamiliar language—the language of the Foxes, Italy told them—and the glow from the orbs rose in an enchanting tendril of light and power, before flowing into the two nations.

Feliciano and Lovino gasped, as the power flowed through their veins, encompassing their entire being. The memory then blacked out; leaving the nations wondering just what happened.

“Ve~ We stayed for a few years to learn how to control our new powers.” Italy said, as he held out his right hand, palm-up, and lazily created a swirl of snow and frost. “I gained the ability to create, command, and control ice, snow, and frost. I never get cold from the temperature, and cannot freeze to death. Actually, I’m rather comfortable walking barefoot in the snow. Romano gained powers over fire and heat, and never gets hot. He also gained the ability to create, command, and control flames. He also became immune to them, and couldn’t be burned.”

“Wow~ That’s SOOOO COOL! You’re like a SUPER HERO!” America shouted with an excited laugh.

“Ve… I’m not sure you could call us that…” Italy muttered with a sweatdrop.

“So… they’re really our kids?” Romano asked, not quite sure how he felt about the whole situation.

“For all intents and purposes, yes. We built Umevokin, and they were born from our creation, so technically, we built them. Kinda like how England is technically Sealand’s dad.” Italy mused, enjoying the rather embarrassed spluttering of the English nation.

“Wh–what are you talking about?!” England choked out, having only ever thought of Sealand as an annoying little brother, or something.

“You mean you haven’t noticed? He has your eyebrows, Iggy.” America stated with a raised brow.

“So?! You don’t!”

“Exactly. I don’t. I was a landmass with a personification before you found me, you know. Sealand, however… You did build him, so he’s technically your biological son.” America pointed out, enjoying the opportunity to mess with his dad immensely.

“Stupid eyebrows, aru. Why did he have to inherit that trait?” China muttered to himself, thinking of his own son, Hong Kong, while choosing to ignore the beet-red Englishman stuttering nonsense.

Before they could calm England down, the next memory faded into existence. Italy smiled when he recognized the Regios. It was made, almost entirely, of beautiful red rocks; the kind you would’ve found in Utah or mid-western America.

“Where are we now, aru?” China asked, as he watched Lovino and Feliciano climb up a sheer rock-face with no ropes.

“Oi! Romano! It’s not safe for you to climb without a rope! Ay caramba!” Spain shouted, grasping his ‘little Lovi’ and hugging him for dear life. If his little Tomato got hurt…

“ITALIEN! You shouldn’t be climbing anything much less without a rope und proper gear! What were you thinking?!” Germany yelled, worried for Italy’s safety.

“Ve~ This is Erkigh.” Italy continued on, ignoring the German completely. “It is man-made, not Nation-made, and a very popular tourist spot. Its appeal is, if you haven’t already guessed, rock-climbing and hiking, but it also offers hang-gliding and body gliding, among other things. As for the whole ‘climbing without ropes’ thing, well… We’re technically not allowed in the Core of a Regios. Only maintenance and cleaning crews are allowed in there. We were able to get into Umevokin’s Core so easily because we built it, and went in under the pretense of a check-up on our Regios. But we didn’t build Erkigh, so we had to sneak in, hence the whole climbing the sheer rock face at night, thing.”

“But why no gear?!” Romano shouted, unable to believe that he’d do such a thing without reason.

“It’s a tourist spot. When people go skiing, do you give them a free pair of skis? No. In order to get the climbing gear, you need to rent it; which means checking it out, and leaving a paper trail. It’ll be impossible to break into the Core without drawing some sort of attention, even if they don’t notice until days later, so we don’t want to leave anything pointing back to us. In fact, according to the ‘paper trail’, right now, we’re in a Regios called Kyefager.” Italy finished, looking rather proud of himself. They hadn’t been caught, after all, and had entered the Regios under false names. Funnily enough, Italy had been Mario, and Romano had been Luigi. Nobody knew what Mario was anymore by that point, so there was no risk in using the unusual names. Other than a few odd looks, nobody even gave them a second glance. And as far as the officials are concerned, Mario and Luigi had simply dropped off the face of the Earth, which is exactly what they’d wanted.

Finally, after giving the other nations multiple heart attacks by slipping and almost falling at least 4 times, Lovino and Feliciano made it to the top. “Fratello! We made it!” Feliciano shouted with glee nursing his bleeding fingers and aching arms.

“Si, si. I told you we could do it!” Lovino shot him a grin, also nursing his injuries. Both sat there for a few minutes, catching their breath and enjoying the view.

“Umm… Fratello?” Feliciano asked uncertainly.

“Yeah, what is it?” Lovino asked as he got up from his sitting position and dusted off his jeans.

“How are we going to get back down?” Feliciano asked innocently, making Lovino freeze.

“Uhhh…”

“Romano!” Spain said in a lecturing tone. “How could you climb up there and not have a plan to get back down?!” Romano shrunk back. Spain may be a mellow guy most of the time, but when Romano’s safety was in question, nobody was safe from his wrath. Not even Romano himself.

“I didn’t even do this stuff yet!” Romano defended.

Yet.” Spain pointed out, a smug shine to his eyes.

“Well, I won’t do it, because this whole apocalypse thing won’t happen! How’s that?!” Romano shouted.

“Ve! Please calm down! It wasn’t his fault! It was my idea in the first place. I’d mentioned it offhandedly, not really even meaning anything by it, and we just kinda decided from there.” Italy amended, earning a glare from a slightly protective Germany. Hehe? Whoops!

“You don’t know.” Feliciano deadpanned, causing Lovino to fall into a mini-depression.

“No.” Lovino admitted, as Feliciano finally got up and dusted himself off.

“Come on, fratello. We’re already here, so we might as well?”

“Si.”

“Oh! I should probably mention…” Italy started, as Feliciano and Lovino started walking to a large building. “This is 2,450 TF. Romano and I have gained a few new abilities since the last memory. I guess the Aurora didn’t think it important enough to show, so I’ll just skim over it.

In 739 TF, Fratello and I visited a Regios called Puewhiem. It’s a German Regios with some Prussian influence—though both Germany and Prussia died in the blast. Its Electronic Spirit is a German shepherd. It’s one of the only Regios to breed dogs, as dogs are one of the few animals to survive the apocalypse, but they became very rare and extremely expensive. There, Fratello gained the ability to talk to dogs of any kind, including wolves.”

“I wha? That sounds kinda lame.” Romano muttered, rather disappointed with the ability that he’d supposedly gained in the future. Really? What use was it to be able to talk to dogs?!

“Don’t knock it, Fratello~! It’s a very handy ability~! You’d be surprised at all the information that dogs have! They’re supposedly really aware of most things going on, or so you’ve told me.” Italy said to Romano, placating his sour expression.

“In 846 TF, we visited a Grecian-based Regios named Keuo, where I gained the ability to speak to cats—the Electronic spirit of Keuo was a two-tailed purple cat with emerald eyes, and a red gem on its forehead. Each tail was forked, too. It was really pretty.” Italy stared off into space for a second before he spoke again, ignoring Japan’s mutter of ‘Sounds like a Pokémon…’

“You’d be surprised at how much cats know. They’re huge gossipers, and always know what’s going on, regardless of how ‘secret’ it is. I’ve even talked to a few cats in ‘our’ time, that is, pre-apocalypse. They know all about us nations, and have been incredibly helpful in preventing the apocalypse. Word travels incredibly fast by cat, even across continents.” Italy explained, enjoying the amazement of the other nations at the little tidbit of information.

“Perhaps Greece-san has the right idea after all…” Japan muttered to himself, wondering if Greece might have somehow survived the initial blast, as well.

“And finally, in 983 TF, we visited a reptile Regios named Synriss. It was a major tourist hot spot, as it was the only place on earth that you could see an actual reptile in its natural habitat. Of course, things like small snakes and lizards lived in many Regios, but Synriss has many different types of reptiles—at least 32. There, Romano gained the ability to speak to snakes and most reptiles, as well as immunity to most venoms.”

“A Parselmouth?!” England exclaimed, still a little biased against them.

“Dude. Moldyshorts died decades ago. Let it rest!” America chastised, not bothering to acknowledge England’s response.

“After that, we traveled to Erkigh, where we are in this memory, under false names.” Italy concluded, deciding to ignore the outburst of the Englishman as well.

“Are you Erkigh?” Feliciano’s voice asked, drawing the attention of the nations. They found that they were already in the Core of the Regios, and that Feliciano and Lovino were looking at a rat… At least, that’s what the nations thought at first, but upon closer inspection, they realized that it wasn’t a rat.

It had golden brown fur, was small enough to fit in one hand, and had a black tipped tail. It was also quite a bit taller than a rat, and much… cuter, in some of the nations’ opinions. They realized belatedly that it was a prairie dog.

“Yes.” A distinctly young male voice said, presumably the prairie dog—the nations could now claim that they’d seen weirder. “I am Erkigh. Who are you?”

“I am Feliciano Vargas.”

“And I am Lovino Vargas.”

“Ah,” said Erkigh, “the Italy twins, yes? I’ve heard whisper of you. The Great Vargas Brothers. The ‘Miracle workers’.” He said with exaggerated awe, laying on the sarcasm nice and thick, before becoming serious. “The geniuses who built the first Regios, Glendan. You’ve been going around collecting Regios Abilities, haven’t you? I assume that’s why you’ve come today.”

“How did you…?” Lovino started, but was cut off by Erkigh.

“I’m not the only one who knows who you are. Many Electronic Spirits have caught wind of your journey. Searching for the Electronic Fairy of Time, yes? Planning to prevent all this? Many of us do not appreciate the idea of someone wishing away our existence, but we were built with the singular purpose of protecting our people. There are Spirits out there that call for your demise. They fear their own deaths, and don’t want you to continue your quest.” He paused for a moment to let the twins digest this information. “I am not one of them. But, as you likely know, in order for you to obtain my powers—”

“One of us has to be compatible, yes, yes, we know, already! Let’s just hurry this up before we get caught. I really don’t want a fucking record under the name ‘Luigi’, thank you very much.” Lovino interrupted, as Feliciano chuckled.

“LUIGI?! How the fuck did you ever convince me to use the name Luigi?!” Romano cried out, not in anger, but embarrassment. The other nations couldn’t help but chuckle as the mental image of Romano dressed in green with blue overalls and a mustache running around bashing bricks popped into their heads.

“Ve~ If it helps, fratello, I used ‘Mario’.” Italy stated.

“NO, it does NOT help!” Romano snapped back, his face still bright red.

“Here is my orb.” The prairie dog said, as a glass orb large enough for the little spirit to use as a hamster ball appeared before them in a flash of soft brown light. Feliciano was the first to pick it up.

As he pushed his kei into it, it started to glow dully, like mud. The brown colors looked mucky, and moved slowly, in a slosh-y motion. Feliciano made a face.

“Ve… I guess I’m not compatible.” Feliciano stated with a disappointed sigh, as he handed the orb to Lovino.

“Okay, my turn.” He stated, as he started channeling his kei into the orb. It then started to glow a brilliant and clear shade of golden brown, with many different shades of rich reds and deep browns in it. Just like in Umevokin, the colors swirled up out of the orb in a steady yet hypnotizing stream of beauty, and flew into Lovino. As soon as the glow died down, and the orb vanished, Erkigh spoke again.

“Congratulations. You now have the power to control, manipulate, and most importantly purify almost any kind of earth or soil. If you stay here for a few weeks, I can show you how to control this power.”

“Yes, please. Thank you very much.” Lovino stated with a grin. He was going to enjoy this.

The memory phased into another one. Lovino and Feliciano were sitting on a sheer cliff-face, dangling their legs out over the edge without a care in the world as they watched the sunlight start to creep over the horizon.

“This is the day that we were leaving Erkigh; Romano finished his training, already.” Italy explained.

“Fratello…?” Feliciano said after a few peacefully silent minutes.

“Si?”

“I’ve been thinking… ever since you got your powers, actually…”

“About what?” Lovino prompted, as he spun a few pebbles around in his palm lazily. “Oh! Get this! Erkigh and I found this other ability of mine! I’m hyper-aware of the vibrations in the ground! I can ‘see’ without actually seeing! Like that old show, Avatar. Remember that? That blind girl, Toph, or something. I can see through the vibrations of the earth! It’s clearer with skin-contact, but still…” Lovino trailed off, still excited by his newfound power, before realizing that he cut off his brother. “Sorry, what was it you wanted to say?”

“That’s really cool, fratello~! But, um… well… I was thinking that… nearly every nation has, or has had a Regios built with their soil, right?”

“Right…” Lovino echoed, not quite seeing where this was going.

“Well… You have the power to purify soil now… You could even remove radiation from it. I was thinking…” Feliciano trailed off as Lovino’s eyes widened in horror.

“NO! We can’t! It’d take me months or even years to purify that soil, and besides! Even with protective gear, a nation couldn’t survive more than 1 hour in that environment! How would we even gather that soil?! Forget gather, how the fuck would we even get there?!” Lovino ranted, worried that his fratellino would try it anyways.

“Please?! Fratello, he doesn’t have one! He deserves one! He may be gone, but his spirit doesn’t have to be! It’d be like finally giving him a proper burial… Please fratello? For him? For his family? America was my friend.”

The Nations gasped, finally understanding what it was they were talking about. “You… for me?” America asked, honored, and worried. He didn’t want them to put themselves at risk for his sake. He’d already caused enough damage…

“It wasn’t your fault, you know.” Italy said, knowing exactly where the American’s mind was.

“Yes it was. If my power plant hadn’t have blown up…”

“It wasn’t your fault. Look, I’m not sure if it’ll show it, but… We eventually found a way to go through with my idea. We went to the Blast Zone. I found evidence of foul play there, Alfred. It wasn’t you. Someone else set off the Power Plant. It was sabotaged.” Italy stated darkly.

WHAT?!” The nations all screamed out at once, though America said nothing. He was frozen in place. “Who? And why?!” He demanded.

“I don’t know. I never found out. All I could tell was that he wasn’t from that time. I killed him before he could set it off, but… He somehow had kei… and he knew how to use it… I don’t understand it myself, but before I could get close enough to remove his helmet and examine the body, someone else blew him up. It was very controlled, and left no evidence behind.”

“So that’s what happened! I was called to the site, because they’d seen a small explosion near a power plant, and they didn’t want anything to go wrong. I was called as an extra precaution.” America said, angry that someone would do something like this, but more than that, he was angry that someone would endanger the rest of the world for just a chance to do him in. Who had that kind of a grudge against him? He could think of many nations that hated him… that wanted him dead. But he couldn’t think of any that would do it in such a brutal manner. In such a roundabout way. They would either want him to know beforehand, take his land and people, or destroy him without endangering themselves. He couldn’t think of anyone with enough of a grudge to kill him at the expense of the end of the world as they knew it. And his children… All 50 of his states… His kids… When he found out who did this they were going to wish they were burning in hell for all eternity…

Italy and the other nations backed off when they saw fury burning in America’s eyes. Only a handful of them (The Italy twins and Canada) knew that he was thinking of his kids.

“Fine. Damnit. But you’re figuring out how to get us there safely. And back.” Lovino finally relented, drawing the other nations’ attention back to the memory. The sun was just peeking over the horizon, as the two stood up and dusted themselves off.

“Come on, Luigi, it’s time to go. The next adventure awaits~! Let’s see if we can head back to Upwhur and start on the schematics of that new Regios.” Feliciano stated, as they started to walk off.

“Actually, Mario,” he hissed out the name with distaste, “There’s a Regios that I want to check out first. I heard some rumors about it. It’s called Edgevas. It travels near the coastline, but never obtains any long-lasting damage from the ocean spray.”

“Really?! Do you think…?”

“It would make sense. If the Electronic Fairy can turn back time, then it could reverse the damage as it’s done. It’s the most promising lead we’ve had in centuries.” Lovino said.

“Perhaps millennia.” Feliciano muttered to himself.

“The ocean has become extremely acidic. Only aquatic Contaminoids can survive in it, along with a few very rare and highly evolved hard-to-catch fish.” Italy explained, seeing the confused looks on some of the nations’ faces.

“Right, so Edgevas first, then Upwhur?” Feliciano asked.

“Si. To Edgevas, then.” Lovino confirmed.

The scene then went back to white. “Well, it’s refreshing that there’ve been no—” England started, before America slapped his hand over his mouth.

Don’t you dare jinx it!” He hissed.

“Yeah, didn’t you know? Saying something like that is sure to jinx it!” Canada piped in.

“Perhaps another break is in order?” Italy suggested, as the whiteness changed into the now familiar break room.

“I suppose so.” France shrugged, wandering into the kitchen to grab himself something to eat.

“Let’s say, an hour and half? That way everybody can rest up and eat something before continuing.” Italy suggested.

“Fine with me.” Romano stated, before turning to his brother.

“Ve?”

“Chigi. You’re going to make pasta with me.” Romano demanded. Italy almost laughed. Almost. It was something the two of them did to spend time together and bond. Cooking of any kind was very relaxing to the Italian Twins.

“Si.” And with that, they took over the kitchen for some quality bonding time.

 

 

A/N: Hey guys! Sorry it’s been so long. I meant to post this on New Years for a little gift, but life got in the way. ^_^; Anyways, I hope you’ve enjoyed this chapter. Look forward to the next one, yeah? We finally meet up with Kiku next time~! ^_^

 

Pages: 12

Words: 6,244/6,280

 

Date Posted: Monday, January 4, 2016

Edited: 04/18/2019

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: Trovato

The white then faded back to a new Regios. This one seemed to be strongly influenced by the sea, and had several sushi stands. It appeared to have some very strong Japanese influence in the architecture, as well as several other, more tropical, beachside cultures, such as Fiji and Tahiti. It was different, but somehow it worked.

“Welcome to Edgevas. It’s the only Regios that dares travel the coastline, near the Acidic Sea, and thus near the extremely large and dangerous Contaminoids. They’re really hard to fight, because their battlefield is an ocean that eats through pretty much anything that hasn’t adapted to it.” Italy explained, as the nations looked around in awe. “Fratello and I had just discovered that the Electronic Fairy here didn’t have the power we were looking for, and we were both incompatible with his power. Turns out, it was just an ingenious idea of mixing Sea Contaminoid blood with the outer armor coating of the Regios, which protects it from the Sea spray, and has the added bonus of disguising the Regios’ scent, so they’re pretty safe from the Contaminoids.” Italy continued. “We decided to spend a few days there to rest before heading out for Upwhur. It’s 2,500 TF.”

“UUUUUGH! After all that shit, we still haven’t found it!” Lovino shouted out in frustration, as Feliciano patted his shoulder comfortingly. They were sitting at a café that overlooked a man-made beach. People were lounging about on their beach chairs and children were playing in the water. It looked like a normal beach.

“N-nani?!” They heard a familiar voice cry. “Itary-kun?! Romano-kun?!” The twins whipped around to find Kiku Honda standing behind them, staring at them with a smile of disbelief.

“Ve?! Japan?! You’re okay~!” Feliciano cried in joy, as he latched on to the Japanese man who hugged the Italian back fiercely.

“Yokatta! Thank God! You two are alright!” He sighed in relief. Kiku had changed quite a bit from the Japan standing beside them. His black hair was speckled with white and pulled into a low ponytail. He seemed taller and broader, as if a heavy weight had caused him to age. His features were sharp and defined—even more so by a diagonal scar on his left cheek just below his eye. His sword still lay quietly at his side, even though his clothing was suited to the times in which he now lived.

“What are you doing here, Sushi-bastard?” Lovino asked in a polite tone when he let go of Feliciano.

“I was looking for something, and thought it might be here. Turns out, I was wrong.” Kiku stated as he pulled up a chair and joined them.

“At least you’re okay, aru.” China stated, beyond relieved that his dìdì was all right.

“H-hai…” Japan muttered under his breath, as he remembered Italy’s breakdown the night before. ‘Why did you have to die?’ he had asked him. Japan knew that his future self would die, but here he was… Would it be like France all over again? His future self didn’t seem to be crippled or injured in any way. I guess it’s a good thing that I got rid of all those Power Plants, then. Japan thought to himself.

They watched with wide smiles as the three of them caught up. Kiku was visibly upset at the news of France’s death, but he seemed to have expected it.

“Japan…?” Feliciano asked quietly. He looked timid, as if he wasn’t sure if he should ask the question. “Do you think… could you join us in our journey?” He asked.

“Oh? Let me guess; you two are also searching for the Time Fairy, hai?”

“Si. I suppose you’re searching for the same thing? We’ve already obtained quite a few powers so far.” Lovino stated.

“Hai, I am. I have also obtained a number of abilities. Perhaps we should go over them so we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses? After all, if we’re going to be traveling together from now on, we need to know how to fight together, which means we need to know our limitations.” Kiku said as Feliciano let out a whoop of joy.

“Good idea. Who wants to start?” Lovino asked.

“I’ll start! Can I start fratello?” Feliciano asked excitedly.

“Si, si. But first, why don’t we find a more… private location?” He suggested.

“I think I know just the place.” Kiku led them to a deserted area of the beach. It had some grass here and there speckling the sand, and a few trees marking the end of the cove. The water was clear as crystal, and the nations could even make out some tropical fish swimming around.

Feliciano grinned as he stepped away from the other two. He closed his eyes in concentration and a frosty wind blew in a circle around him. The ground started to freeze, as the sand became white with frost. Kiku stared in awe as snow started to fall from seemingly nowhere. He scooped some into his hand, staring at it in wonder.

“Ice. Though it includes snow, as well. Technically, you could say it’s winter.” Feliciano smiled. “It’s from a Regios called Umevokin.” Kiku nodded in understanding.

“I’ve been there once. It was beautiful.”

“My other power isn’t really one I can show off, but I can speak to and understand cats. It’s from the Regios Keuo.”

Feliciano sat down again, as Lovino stood up. “My turn.” He smirked as a circle of fire danced around his feet, melting Feliciano’s leftover snow and frost. “Fire is my first ability.” He said, creating a dog out of fire. “I can also speak to dogs, and probably wolves or coyotes as well, seeing as how they were related…” The firedog then morphed into a grand serpent. “I can also speak to snakes, thanks to Synriss. The dog thing is from Puewhiem.” He explained, dismissing his flames. The nations marveled at his control. Very little, if anything, was actually burned.

“It’s ironic, isn’t it?” Feliciano smirked. “That the one guy who hated anything of Germanic relation is the one that was compatible with the ability of one of the only Germanic Regios?” He teased.

“Sh-shut up you bastard!” Lovino turned red.

“Hai, my turn.” Kiku said, standing up. With a wicked smirk, he vanished.

“Invisibility?!” Feliciano asked, stunned.

“Not quite, Feliciano-kun.” Kiku said right behind him, making the Italian jump and whip around. “Speed. I visited a Regios called Quang, and gained immense speed—faster than the eye can follow. I can also heal most injuries thanks to an ability from the Regios Guia.” He sped back to the area that Feliciano and Lovino had showed off their abilities. The nations watched in awe. Japan stared at his other self with shock and a tinge of jealousy. But that’s so stupid to be jealous of myself!

Kiku then crouched into a low position. At first they thought he was going to do yoga or something, when he suddenly stepped forward, moving his arm in a whip like motion. To the shock and amazement of the nations, a whip of water came forth from the ‘sea’ and followed his movements.

“Dude! You’re a freakin’ waterbender?! That’s so cool!” America grinned.

Kiku guided the water into the form of a tiger. The aqua feline stood beside the Japanese once-nation proudly, a small dragon made of water stood on Kiku’s shoulder. Perhaps only Japan noticed China’s small smile as he realized that the dragon was meant to represent him.

He then dispelled the water creatures, and went into a sequence of similar moves. The grass rose to his will, and grew, intertwining itself and forming a staff with a very sharp pointy tip, as the trees whipped their branches about angrily. Kiku glanced at the trees with an almost reprimanding look, and they stilled once more. He ran his finger down the staff and the grass unwove itself and returned to its unassuming state of being normal. “I learned to control water from a Regios called Psudeju, I’m sure you’ve heard of it.” Feliciano and Lovino nodded.

“Of course. It’s the largest source of fresh water in the world.” Lovino smirked. “How could we not know?”

“I can also cleanse and purify water. Oh, and I can breathe underwater.”

“Really?!” Feliciano grinned as Kiku nodded.

“Ever heard of a Regios called Rovanwip? It’s well known for relaxation and rehabilitation, and is a popular retirement spot, too. The spirit there granted me the ability to control plants, and even understand them to an extent.”

“So you can talk to plants?” Lovino raised an eyebrow.

“More like I can empathize with them, and feel their emotions. Plants do feel, but it tends to be brief, and simple. I can understand them through their emotions.” The three once-nations shared an excited look.

“Do you think we could spar sometime?” Feliciano asked.

“Hai. I’ll look forward to it.”

“Make it a three-way. Every man for himself.” Lovino chuckled.

“So where are we headed next?” Kiku asked.

“We’re headed to Upwhur.” Feliciano started, “Romano has recently gained the ability to control, manipulate, and purify earth and soil. I was thinking that we should make a Regios for Alfred with his soil. We were heading to Upwhur to work out the schematics and decide how much soil we’re going to need.”

“Nani?! American soil?! Can you purify it?” Kiku asked Lovino.

“Well… I can’t say for sure until I try, but I’m confident that I can purify it given enough time. The problem is getting over there, and getting the soil here. A nation, even with all the top-of-the-line, modern-day protective gear, can only survive those levels of radiation for a few hours tops.” He said, as silence befell the group.

“Oh! Fratello!” Feliciano suddenly shouted, shattering the quiet. “Remember that project I was working on before The Blast?! The one that I worked on for years?”

The nations widened their eyes, as they realized where Feliciano was going with this. “You mean you did it?!” Romano finally cried out. Italy couldn’t keep the satisfaction from his eyes. “Si. With yours and Japan’s help, I was finally able to complete a working teleportation device~!” He stated, grinning like a loon. Even after 5,000 years of post-apocalyptic endeavors, teleportation was one of his proudest accomplishments. Of course, Glendan was up there along with the Celestial Blades…

“You mean the teleportation devices?!” Lovino hissed—almost literally—in a sharp whisper.

“Nani? Teleportation?!”

“Si. And I think if we can perfect it, then we would be able to use it to take us to the Blast Zone, and move the soil quickly and with relative ease. The only problem would be getting to the Blast Zone to set up the other side, but maybe we could find a way there…” Feliciano replied in a fast whisper.

“I’ll help… but… There’s a project that I’m working on… I’m creating special Dites for nations that will allow us to use our full Kei. I need your help to make them, though. I’m missing something; I know it! I just can’t figure out what...” Kiku informed them, perking Feliciano and Lovino’s interest.

“Dites for nations? Sounds… interesting. Tell us more.” Lovino stated as the memory faded out.

They then found themselves looking at yet another new Regios. Italy let out a sigh of nostalgia. “This is Upwhur. Romano and I spent a lot of time here. I’ll explain a bit about Upwhur, since we’ll probably see this place quite a bit.” Italy took a deep breath.

“Upwhur is the most technologically advanced Regios in the world. It’s techno-heaven and every Regios mechanic’s dream to even visit. It’s also, by far, the largest Regios in the world, at least the size of 5 or 6 Regios put together. It goes on for miles!” The nations’ eyes widened comically at the thought. “As you can imagine, that makes it rather difficult for it to move around. It’s on a very set route, and hardly moves at all! In fact, there are several, smaller military Regios that are tasked with keeping the Contaminoids at bay, so Upwhur only moves when absolutely necessary.” The nations nodded, it made sense. After all, if something that big fell into a crevice or got stuck like Jubil, it’d be done for.

“Romano and I helped build Upwhur, but we didn’t build it by ourselves. It’s one of the only Regios that has a Regios Construction Area, or RCA for short. Romano and I also own one of the RCAs in Upwhur, and use it to construct Regios. An RCA is basically a giant workshop to build Regios.” Italy continued.

“The people in charge of running Upwhur know that Romano and I were immortal, and it was a secret passed down from one leader of Upwhur to the next. As such, we never had any problems with keeping ownership of our RCA. Which is a good thing, because we spent a lot of time and money there. We had the top-of-the-line equipment, and were famous among the Regios mechanics. Upwhur’s RCA produces over 80% of the world’s Regios. Romano and I, as I’ve already said, work primarily from Upwhur. We went by the name ‘Vargas Brothers’ and our work was legendary. And I’m not just stroking my ego, either. I’ve lost count of the fan-mail we’ve been sent.” Romano blinked in surprise, as Italy shivered remembering some of the overly eccentric fan mail.

“We’d always mark our Regios with the Vargas Stamp (an Italian Wolf howling at the Italian flag with a Bluebird on its shoulder), which is impossible to replicate, because it also had our Kei signature imbued in it. A few tried, but ultimately failed. Anyways I’ve gotten off-topic. My point is that our main Regios workshop is here. This is where we practically lived, seeing as we’ve made a ton of Regios—at least 13. This is also where the three of us would build the Regios for America.” Italy finished, leaving the other nations blinking at him, not sure how to take the new information.

“Dude, did you swallow a textbook or something?” America asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Ve… While most people know what Upwhur is, there are still a pathetically large number of people who have no clue. Fratello and I have had to explain it so many times that I suppose it became something of a monologue. Sorry about that.” Italy stated with a slightly embarrassed chuckle as he rubbed the back of his head.

“Still… This place is enormous!” England said in awe, as he looked around the Regios. It was many times larger than any other Regios they’d seen so far. If that wasn’t enough, it was like they’d stepped into some sort of Steam Punk world or something. Everything had gears or metal scraps or something to do with mechanics and building. And those buildings or places that didn’t encompass some sort of Steam Punk theme seemed to instead be incredibly high-tech; though far from 3-D or 4-D touch screens and holograms and flying cars that the nations were expecting. Technology seemed to have evolved along an entirely different route that appeared more mechanical than digital. It would appear that the digital age died out with the Initial Blast.

“Some of this looks familiar…” Japan murmured to himself, trying to figure out where he’d seen this kind of mechanical technology before. It wasn’t until he saw a shop titled “Automail Mechanic” that it finally clicked. “NANI!? Fullmetal Alchemist?!” He blurted out, shocked to see themes from one of his favorite anime in a real-life situation.

“Si. With the way technology was evolving, Romano and I decided to implement some of the themes from your anime. Automail seemed like a fantastic start. Many people ended up dying due to lost limbs and whatnot, so we figured out a way to make the Automail from Fullmetal Alchemist a reality. It’s saved a lot of lives.” Italy explained proudly, concealing a slight chuckle at the star-struck look Japan and America were giving the Automail.

“You’ll have to bring this to the modern world.” Japan stated, drooling over the tech.

As they walked, the nations looked at some of the other, stranger objects. Pens that drew with light in mid-air, even light-sabers and ray-guns.

“DUDE! THAT’S SOOO COOL!” America shouted when he saw the Star Wars-themed weapons.

“Oh, those? It’s just extremely condensed kei. Though admittedly it became a joke, as nobody could use it for more than a handful shots or a few seconds before running dangerously low on kei, except for nations, of course. We never did get around that little glitch.” Italy admitted.

He’d liked the idea, and had come up with it himself. Such a shame that it required too much kei. He and Romano had had such wonderful duels with the light-sabers. Of course, Italy would always be Gray, along with Romano. [Italy had originally been Sith, and Romano Jedi, but they decided somewhere along the way to balance each other out and go Gray. At least, that’s how they played it out. They had to have some fun at times.]

They also saw other, ‘normal’ technological stuff. Things like walkie-talkies, radios, microphones, cassette players, etc…

“How strange, aru. This is the most advanced technology?” China asked, as they followed Feliciano and Lovino into the city.

“Well, there’s hardly any digital stuff left. Nations are the only ones who remember the Age of Technology. Wi-Fi, the Internet, cell phones, none of those things exist anymore. Well, I suppose that might be a tiny lie. Romano and I re-invented a few things like e-mail, computers, digital databases, and improved on a few things. We were able to tap into some old satellites and whatnot, but there was no way that we could release our inventions to the public—there simply weren’t enough resources to mass-produce them. So we decided to use them in our Regios construction, to plan and build. We instead offered them as the top-of-the-line Vargas Brothers Original Regios-Building Technology, or VB ORBiTs for short. Exclusive to Upwhur, of course.” Italy stated with a slightly smug smirk.

“Wow. So you really helped build this? It’s AWESOME! Almost as Awesome as the Awesome Prussia! Kesesesese!” Prussia laughed as Gilbird chirped around his head.

“Somebody please shoot him…” Germany mumbled under his breath.

“You’ve been very quiet.” France noted, looking at his albino friend.

“Ja, well… This entire situation is rather heavy, you know? It doesn’t feel right to continuously interrupt it.”

“That’s a first, coming from you.” Germany gave his brother a sidelong glance.

“What?! I can sense the mood too! You know… sometimes…”

“Sugoi! I’ve heard of Upwhur, but I never thought I’d get the chance to see it!” Kiku’s voice carried as they made their way through what appeared to be the center of the city. It was bustling with life and all kinds of shops, stores, mechanic repairs, restaurants, and cafés. “There’s an amazing academy here, too, right? I’ve heard that it’s highly exclusive, and only lets in people with the most promising talent! And the RCAs here are said to have the most advanced, unheard of technology in recorded history!” Kiku’s eyes shone with barely restrained excitement. He honestly looked like a kid on Christmas morning with a tree filled with presents before him.

China chuckled; it’d been centuries since he’d seen Japan this excited about anything. Well, not including the time he invented Anime… Or when he found out how popular yaoi was… China was still rather touchy that Japan had the audacity to name ‘Yaoi’ after his human name, Yao. Japan had thought it rather hilarious at the time, but China had never quite gotten over that little spiff.

Japan only looked at his future self with intense interest. Perhaps he should ask Italy-kun how to make these Regios. It would seem that it would become a passion of his. It didn’t matter that it was a little large to make in his home; he could always miniaturize it using technology.

“Come on, Japan~” Feliciano called to Kiku, who stood practically drooling at the entrance to the RCAs. “You do want to see where we work, right? Romano and I helped build Upwhur, so we have a permanent RCA here. Nobody really knows that there are actually four RCAs in Upwhur. It’s why no one knows where the Vargas Brothers build their masterpieces.” Feliciano finished quietly with a tiny smirk.

“H-hai! Onegai! Let me see!” Kiku quickly ran to catch up with a large grin on his face. Feliciano looked at him for a long moment as they walked through the well-lit tunnels. The RCAs were all underground. Lovino, however, was the one to speak up.

“You seem different. More open. 2,500 years ago, you’d never show this much emotion.” He noted. Kiku hesitated a bit, his smile fading back to his old neutral look.

“I realized… I realized that I was too polite. Too reserved. Though I felt joy and sorrow, I never let it fully manifest. I thought that if I was always polite and never spoke out, that I’d make more friends… It took the apocalypse to show me that I was wrong. That all I was doing was pushing everyone away.”

The other nations listened with intense interest. It was their one chance to get a peek into the mind of one of the most aloof and emotionally elusive nations. “I’m naturally withdrawn. It’s in my nature. It’s the same with being polite. But I took it a bit too far… I see that now…” He sighed with a forlorn look on his face. “If I could do it over again, I would be more open, more outgoing… I wouldn’t be as much of a recluse, and I’d spend more time with everyone… And I’d apologize to Yao-nii… I see now… It was my pride that kept me from apologizing to my Aniki, and my politeness that kept me from ever bringing it up, even when my pride would allow me to ask him for forgiveness.” Kiku gave another heavy sigh. “If there is one regret that I have, it is that I will never get the chance to apologize to Aniki… Yao-nii… Hountouni… Sumimasen…” He whispered the last part so quietly that the nations had to strain their ears to hear him.

China was in tears. Japan wanted to apologize? After all this time? He still thought of him as his older brother? He was still his Aniki…? He was so happy to know that Japan still loved him. That he was still family to him.

“Aniki… Sumimasen…” Japan quietly spoke to China, as he gave a low bow, almost touching his forehead to the floor. It took China a moment to realize that Japan was actually on his knees begging for his forgiveness. The other nations, thankfully, turned away. It was a private affair between brothers, after all.

“We’ll go on ahead. It’s a straight path, so you shouldn’t get lost.” Italy said, as he led the group on, leaving the two Asian brothers to sort things out.

The two Nations stared at one another for a few tense moments. “Aniki, I—” Japan started, before China cut him off. “You already apologized, aru. And I forgave you centuries ago.” He stated, as he gently brought his precious dìdì into an embrace. Japan just stared ahead in shock. He forgave him?! But! How could he be forgiven so easily?! After what he’d done? He was fully prepared for China to finally reject him for good! So… how?

“Dìdì…” China stated softly as he wiped Japan’s tears away. Funny, when had he started crying?

“Aniki... Naze…?” Japan asked softly.

“Because no matter what, you are my precious dìdì—my little brother. Nothing you do can ever change that. I’ll always love you, and I’ll always be here to protect you. And though sometimes it may take awhile, I’ll always forgive you.” China stated softly as Japan finally hugged back, giving into his tears of relief and gratitude.

“Well, I might not forgive you if you kill Panda, or get rid of Shinatty-chan, but other than that~”

Japan chuckled, appreciating the lighter mood. Now that he’d been forgiven… It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders and his heart. He felt so light!

“We should catch up, aru.” China stated.

“W-wait!” He called. China looked back just in time to catch an armful of Japan. “I love you, aniki.” He said, tightening the hug. China stood there in surprise for a moment—Japan never initiated a hug!—before hugging him back.

“I love you too, dìdì.” He smiled. “We should head back, though.”

“H-hai…” Japan blushed lightly in embarrassment. The brothers walked alongside one another in peaceful silence.

After a few minutes, they found the group again. The other nations said nothing about the rumpled appearances of the two nations—England had to whack France on the back of the head when he started his creeper laugh.

The nations came to a roped off area that read ‘private property: Do Not Trespass’. Not that anyone but Italy could read the strange Asian-like script.

“And here’s our private lab.” Feliciano said, as he fished some keys out of his pocket.

“Keys? How odd…” Kiku muttered.

“Keys were an old thing, hardly anyone even used them anymore, and even fewer knew how to pick a lock. Between the high-tech security here and the old-fashioned locks, our lab was infamously impenetrable.” Italy explained.

“Si. Hardly anyone remembers what they are, let alone how to pick them. I can’t tell you how many people complained about the door handle being broken because it wouldn’t open.” Feliciano chuckled. “Sometimes the answers to the future lie in the distant past.” He unlocked the door.

“Of course, as Italians, we can’t just do the security half-assed.” Lovino stated as he did the retina and fingerprint scan. The large automatic door opened to allow the three nations in.

“Oh, Kami-sama!” Kiku breathed as he got a good look at their lab. It was massive. Then again, it had to be to build Regios inside. After all, they were building entire cities down there!

What really got the nations was the unfamiliar technology and devices in the lab. They couldn’t make heads or tails of most of it, but they all noticed how clean the lab was as a whole, as opposed to Italy’s private lab from the tunnels.

Italy seemed to sense the unasked question, because he spoke. “We’re not exactly the cleanest inventors, so we pay a few trusted humans to clean our labs when we’re away. And there’s an alarm on the door—if anyone but us tries to take something out of our lab, we’ll be immediately alerted, as will the proper authorities. The alarm is silent, so they won’t know, and passing through the door will also activate the tracking device in the object. As such, it’s impossible to successfully steal from the Vargas Brothers. Ve~ A few tried, but they were all caught within an hour.”

“So this is the unheard-of technology? It looks like a computer or some sort of tablet.” Kiku stated, looking at some of the screens and tools on the table against the wall. It looked almost like a security office area, with two seats surrounded by at least four computer screens and many notes scattered about. A coffee machine was sitting on a separate table nearby with two mugs with the Italian flag design and the Vargas Brothers’ crest.

“JARVIS.” Feliciano spoke clearly, making the nations’ jaws drop.

“No way! You recreated Iron Man’s personal digital butler?!” America squealed, shocked and excited.

“THIS IS AWESOME!!!” Prussia shouted, as Italy sweatdropped.

“Si… We did… It makes creating Regios much easier when you have an intelligent computer system to help you out. In case you didn’t know, JARVIS stands for ‘Just A Really Very Intelligent System’. Though I did attempt to make an Iron-man-like suit to fight the Contaminoids, but there’s no existing power source at this time to sustain it. It basically became really heavy armor. Completely useless.” Italy explained nonchalantly.

“Yes, Master Vargas?”

“We’re making a new Regios. Start a new Project File. Title it…” Feliciano trailed off.

“If I may, what sort of project is it?” JARVIS asked.

“We’re building a Regios with American soil.” Lovino stated.

“American? The Blast Zone, you mean? I must advise against this, that soil has extremely high radiation levels, and the air’s acidity could kill even you!”

“I can purify soil, now, and we’re working on the air issue. So just make the damned file.” Lovino growled, annoyed.

“Very well.” JARVIS seemed to sigh.

“For an artificial intelligence system, it’s rather realistic.” France pointed out.

“Si. It took a lot of work, but we eventually were able to give him a developing personality. Hours and hours of working in the lab can get lonely, even with the two of us there. JARVIS is another reason why nobody can steal anything. He’s always watching over the lab for us.” Italy said, as Feliciano finally snapped his fingers.

“Romano? Japan? What do you guys think of this for the Regios’ name? Hero’s Freedom.” America smiled softly at the name. So that’s what they decided to call it, huh? It was a good name. A strong name.

“Hero’s Freedom? Sounds good to me.” Lovino stated, as Kiku nodded his head.

“Very well, sirs. I shall title the new project ‘Hero’s Freedom’.” JARVIS stated.

Feliciano and Lovino sat down in their chairs. A four-dimensional holographic Regios suddenly popped up in front of them, waiting to be worked on. Feliciano and Lovino immediately started working without a word. They were both typing away at a keyboard at mindboggling speeds, putting some sort of code in the system. Every now and then, they’d turn to the hologram, and interact with it, adding something in, or swiping something away. Neither of them had to say a word to each other, each one knowing exactly what to do.

Kiku stood off to the side, both amazed at the incredible teamwork, and feeling rather awkward and out-of-place. He didn’t know how to help, as he neither knew how to use their tools and systems, nor what he should do. It seemed as if the twins had everything down to a science, and had a certain way about doing things.

Feliciano seemed to pause as he realized something. “Oh, sorry, Japan! Romano and I are just so used to doing things ourselves that we tend to get a little forgetful when we have guests. You know how it is, when working you tend to become oblivious to your surroundings.” Lovino stopped working as well, remembering Kiku as well.

“Hey! JARVIS! Get Japan another seat, would you? He’ll be working with us from now on.” Lovino stated.

“Vino~ I’m so happy~! You called Japan by his name! You didn’t call him ‘sushi-bastard’ like you used to!” Feliciano cried out happily.

“Sh-shut up! If we’re going to be traveling and working together, then I can’t very well call him a bastard all the damned time, now can I? Besides, Japan is shorter than sushi-bastard.” Lovino muttered, his cheeks tinged pink with embarrassment.

“Huhuhu. I’ll be glad to help you.” Kiku stated, as he took the seat that rose out of the floor, courtesy of JARVIS.

“I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not quite sure how to use this new system. I’ve never used anything like this before…” Kiku said as he looked at the holographic screen that leapt to life before him with warily.

“Let me show you, it’s rather simple once you get the basics down.” Lovino said, as he stood next to Kiku and started explaining how the system worked.

The nations were then treated to a montage of the three of them working tirelessly on the Regios schematics, going through more coffee than was probably healthy in the process. Finally, it seemed to slow down a bit. Kiku and Feliciano were working on what appeared to be the Dite, while Lovino was going over a small physical 3-D model of the Regios.

“Hey, Japan?” Feliciano asked, as he stretched and walked over to the dark-haired man who was rapidly typing complex sequences into the system, a holographic Dite hovering in front of him.

“Hm…?” Kiku hummed distractedly, acknowledging Feliciano’s presence.

“I was thinking… What if what the Nation Dites are missing isn’t a larger kei storage, but something like a kei concentration and redirection device merged with something akin to a surge protector?” Feliciano suggested, making Kiku pause in his typing.

“Nani? I never thought of that before… It could work, I suppose…” He thought deeply, before calling out, “JARVIS, please add in what Italy just said, and remove the unneeded kei storage space.”

“Right away, sir.” JARVIS said, as the hologram Dite seemed to break apart into its base components, before something flew off the screen, and another piece appeared. Kiku carefully, yet quickly, maneuvered it into place, before it all clicked together. “Run systems check.”

“All appears to be working as intended.” JARVIS informed.

“Run simulation test.” The hologram seemed to transform into a Dite, and charge up, a bar on the bottom started creeping across the screen as it loaded, but it changed from green to red once it reached 70%. “Activate auto-cooling and surge-protector.” Kiku stated, a look of intense concentration on his face, mirrored by Feliciano.

“Activating.”

The bar turned back to green, and it continued moving up and finally, it reached 100%.

“Simulation Test successful.” JARVIS stated, as Feliciano and Kiku whooped for joy.

“IT WORKS!” Feliciano cried out, elated. Kiku looked ecstatic as well.

“YATTAA! I’ll get working on the prototypes right away!”

Another fast-forward montage, before the memory was slowed down and the three memory-nations were standing in front of a table with twelve Dites. Each one looked different from the next. They watched as the three of them tried each Dite.

“We’re so close!” Feliciano finally cried out in frustration. Even Kiku’s usually calm demeanor was shattered by the apparent failure. “Kuso!”

China whacked Japan on the back of the head. “Aiyaa! I thought I broke you of that kind of language when you were 500!” China cried out, as Japan rubbed the back of his head. “Sumimasen…” But I haven’t said it in front of you yet… He thought to himself.

“Wait…” Romano said, “Why are there twelve? And what’s wrong? It looks like it works just fine.”

“Well, Japan wasn’t quite sure what kinds of Dites to make, so he made 12 different kinds. That ended up being the main issue. It limited us. They could handle a much larger amount of kei than normal Dites, about 5 times more, but we needed about 100 times more. We were so close… It took us about 80 years to get this far, and we’d already mostly finished the schematics and basic skeleton for Hero’s Freedom. You can see it over there.” Italy said, pointing towards what looked like scraps of metal fused into a very large circle—not that they could see the whole thing as it disappeared over the underground horizon—or something. It didn’t look anything like a Regios.

“What we were mostly concentrating on at this point was the Celestial Blades, which is what we would eventually call the Nation Dites, and the teleportation machine. We were only about 20% done with the teleportation machine, and roughly 80% done with the Dites. We’d already done almost all we could with the schematics of the Regios, and were just starting construction. We won’t have it finished for a few more centuries.” Italy explained.

“Wait, calm down. Getting angry won’t do anything.” Lovino said, the surprising voice of reason.

“Lovino’s right.” A new voice said. A strange owl flew down, and landed on a perch near the computers. Feliciano and Kiku sighed.

“You’re right, fratello… And so are you, Upwhur.” The nations looked at the strange owl with more interest. It seemed to be rather Steam Punk; made of copper with the gears on the belly showing. There was also a clock in the center of its belly, with silver clock-hands.

“Upwhur, or Whur, as we called him, became good friends of Romano and myself. He’d often lend us a hand or give us advice or just company when we were working. He became rather attached to us, and eventually Japan as well, and began to spend most of his time in our lab. He’s great conversation, and is a goldmine of information when it comes to mechanics, though Romano and I taught him quite a bit ourselves.” Italy explained to the nations.

“If you’re having trouble, or getting overly frustrated, try taking a break. You three have been holed up in here for nearly 80 years, with the exception of grocery trips for food and coffee. Perhaps it’s time to take a break and enjoy the sunshine for a change?” Upwhur suggested.

“Maybe you’re right.” Feliciano finally relented. Kiku nodded his head, rubbing at his eyes, which had dark bags under them. “We should probably get some rest, too.”

They went back through the tunnels, and stepped outside, each one of them blinking in the sunlight. The three of them looked unhealthily pale. Upwhur landed on Lovino’s shoulder and made himself comfortable.

“Oi! You’re heavy! Get off before your gears get tangled in my hair again!” Upwhur chuckled a bit before he flew over and landed on Feliciano’s arm instead. Lovino rolled his eyes as an amused smirk pulled at the edges of his mouth.

“You all look so pale. Were you really in there for 80 years straight?” France asked, shocked.

“Well, we got out every now and then, but pretty much, yeah. When working on a Regios, it wasn’t unheard of for us to be in there for years at a time. If it weren’t for Whur, we probably wouldn’t have even made grocery runs. We likely would’ve sent someone else to do it. Haha. Looking back, it really was rather stupid of us. The vitamin deficiency from the lack of sunlight could’ve been dangerous.” Italy reflected.

“No kidding. Seems you didn’t learn your lessons with your lab.” Romano retorted.

“How long does it usually take the humans to make a Regios?” France asked, curious.

“Usually it only takes them a decade or two. There’re usually teams of at least 30 people delegated to each section of the Regios and it’s planning. Sometimes there are as many as 200 people working on one Regios. I think the record for fastest building time of a Regios was 5 years, and it took about 800 people to do it. Not only that, but it turned out to be fairly stable and didn’t really require any tune-ups or repairs. It passed inspection and went on to be a livable city.”

“Sounds pretty cool, but time-consuming.” America pointed out.

“Yeah. But it was so much fun. And the satisfaction of seeing your creation take it’s first steps out into the world on its own… to house and home and protect people, and encourage the population to grow and thrive… There’s nothing truly like it.” Italy smiled nostalgically.

“Maybe we should travel a bit? Take a year or two. We can’t have our fighting skills going down the drain just because we got caught up in a project again.” Lovino pointed out.

“Hai. But what should we do with these?” Kiku asked, holding up the Dites.

“We can use them for now. They’ll work better than the average Dite would. If we want training, why not head back to Glendan?” Feliciano suggested.

“Glendan? The First Regios?! I’ve always wanted to see it. I hear it’s the strongest!” Kiku practically swooned.

“Grazie.” Lovino smirked. Upon seeing Kiku’s confused stare, Feliciano elaborated.

“We built Glendan ourselves. We were the ones to make the first Regios.”

“N-nani?! Sugoi!” Feliciano looked a little uneasy with the starry-eyed look from Kiku.

“Please, no autographs.” Lovino deadpanned. Kiku blinked, and started stammering in embarrassment.

“N-no! O-of course not! I wasn’t fanning or anything! I was just impressed! Yeah, impressed! That’s all…”

The nations chuckled. “Dude, I’ve never seen you so flustered!” America laughed quietly to himself.

“I seem to recall a similar reaction when I told you that I made—”

“YOU SWORE YOU’D NEVER MENTION THAT!” America shouted suddenly, cutting off the smirking Japanese nation.

“Then don’t make fun of me.”

“Not fair…” America muttered dejectedly. “You’re not supposed to blackmail me…”

“Kuhuhuhu…”

The memory shifted to show the three of them on a roaming bus. Feliciano was sitting at the window, and Kiku was sitting at the isle seat. Lovino was sandwiched between them, but he didn’t seem to mind too much.

The hatch of the Regios opened, and the bus drove down the ramp and into the outside world. The desolation still bothered the nations, and they strained to see some sort of life. Somehow, even the grey sky seemed out of place and too unnatural.

As the bus drove in a seemingly random direction, a light tapping noise started up. “Oh?” Feliciano blinked before he smiled sadly… longingly.

“What is it?” Kiku asked, looking out the window.

“It’s raining.” Feliciano stated as the rain started to come down harder. He watched the clear liquid run down the window, leaving watery trails behind it. The desolate sands seemed to darken, absorbing as much of the precious moisture as possible. Some rocks started to green as the dried moss came to life. Suddenly, the world wasn’t so desolate anymore. There was green and brown and gray and blue. It comforted the nations.

“It seems not all hope is lost, then.” Kiku’s voice was soft.

“It hasn’t rained like this in centuries.” Lovino added, smiling. The bus had slowed significantly, unequipped for the weather, but the passengers didn’t mind. Young and old alike watched the rain with awe and fascination.

“What is it?” A young boy asked an older woman.

“It’s called rain. It’s when the sky is sad and cries water to try to bring life back to the land.” She explained with awe. “My grandmother’s grandmother once saw rain like this. She said the world was green for days.”

“Why’s the sky sad?”

“‘Because she misses playing with her children. She misses tickling us with her warmth and wind, and she misses blanketing us with snow. She misses embracing us in the sky and watching us play.’” A younger passenger answered forlornly. “A stranger told me that once. She seemed so sad, too.” Kiku perked up.

“Where was this stranger?” He asked. The kid looked at him oddly before he shrugged.

“It was in a Regios called Iceur.”

“Iceur? I don’t think I’ve heard of it…” Lovino’s brows furrowed in thought.

“I wouldn’t be surprised. I wouldn’t have heard of it if I hadn’t stumbled across it by accident. It’s a fairly small Regios. Last I checked, it was in the Northern Region, so that might have something to do with it.”

“Northern? How far north are we talking here?” Lovino raised an eyebrow.

“Like, cold. That place doesn’t have too good of a weather filter… There seems to always be snow there.” He shrugged. “Maybe that’s how it was built to be? It’s a pretty old Regios, and most people there were born there. They don’t get travelers often, so don’t expect too much.”

“What’s your angle?” Feliciano asked his brother when the kid had turned his attention back to the rain outside.

“Just a feeling… You getting it, too?” Kiku nodded.

“I think we should visit Iceur. I feel like there’s something for us to find there.” He replied.

“You realize that there’s no roaming busses that go out that far?” Feli pointed out.

“Of course I do, idiota.” Lovino rolled his eyes. “But have you forgotten, already?”

“No. But you’re not driving this time.” Feliciano glared at his brother, daring him to argue.

“You own a Roamer?” Kiku raised his eyebrows.

“Yup. Cost us a pretty penny, but it was worth it. Especially when we want to head to the… out of the way locations.” Feliciano replied.

“Roamer?” Romano looked to his brother for an explanation.

“Basically it’s a car that can travel outside the Regios. Nobody really bothers to get one because they’re really expensive, and if you can’t fight off the Contaminoids yourself, you’re better off not using it. Not to mention the fact that most Regios can be reached through the roaming busses for a very affordable fee. But there aren’t really any busses that travel to the Northern Regions because they tend to be very icy and snowy. It isn’t really worth the risk for the busses to go up there regularly. There’re usually one or two busses up there a year, and that’s just for safety’s sake, so nobody is completely isolated.”

“Why not just use your Roamer instead of taking the public transportation?” China asked, quirking an eyebrow.

“Because gas costs a fucking diamond mine.” Italy deadpanned. “You think gas is expensive now? $5 a gallon… Big whoop. Try a good…” he paused for a moment to convert the currency. “$18 a gallon or so. It depends on the Regios you fill up at. Some are upwards of $20. The cheapest one I found was about $12.50.”

“EIGHTEEN DOLLARS A GALLON?!” America shouted. “And I thought my gas prices were ridiculous.” He shivered. That was like, what, $300 to fill up a tank?!

“Mind… gas was only used by the Roaming Busses, and the Roamers. The busses get a significant discount—some places even free!” He twitched in annoyance. “But the Roamers? Why not make a little extra cash?” Italy shrugged.

A little my a…” Canada trailed off under his breath. His brother scooted away from him discreetly.

“So you keep it at Glendan, I assume?” Kiku inquired. Lovino nodded.

“Yeah. Luckily it seems that Glendan is somewhat close to the Northern Region right now.” Feliciano hummed absently, entranced by the rain quenching the parched world.

The nations watched in silence as the roaming bus carried the three once-nations to Glendan. “Please… I don’t want to lose anymore friends. Let them be alive.” Feliciano whispered, as he let the rain color the land that he’d once called home.

 

 

 

A/N: I’m so sorry it’s taken me over a year to get this chapter up. T_T Life has been so hectic for me lately, and working 2 retail jobs during the Holidays means no free time to write or edit. :/ So I’m sorry, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this latest chapter. ^_~ The next one hasn’t been started yet, but work is being kind now and giving me about a day off a week or so. ^^ So hopefully, between looking for a place to move to, taking care of a needy kitten, and other personal stuff, I’ll have the next chapter up long before December.

 

Words: 7,555/7,755

Pages: 15

Uploaded: 01/08/2017

Edited: 09/07/2018

Edit 2: 04/18/2019

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: Speranza

 

The scene changed to show Glendan again. Feliciano, Lovino, and Kiku were heading into a rather lavish mansion.

“Dude, do you live there?!” America gawked at the mansion.

“Si. That was originally built for the royal family of Glendan, but they gave it to us as a gift.” He shrugged. It wasn’t like they’d stayed there for any real length of time, anyways. “By the way, it’s 2,850 TF.”

They winced at how many years had gone by as they walked through the lavish hallways, most of them feeling out of place. “It quite reminds me of Buckingham, to be honest.” England commented.

“Дa? I am thinking that it is being too big and lonely. If only everybody were to be living together…” Russia smiled, making a few nations step away from him.

“Do you think it could’ve been Hungary?” Feliciano asked, excited.

“Why would she be up north? Think about it! It’s much more likely to be someone who’s from a colder climate.” Lovino rebutted.

“Like who?”

“Perhaps Kazakhstan? She has a rather cold climate.” Kiku theorized.

“True… It may not even be anyone we’re overly familiar with…”

“I hope it is, though.” Lovino pouted. “It would be nice to see another familiar face.”

“Kawaii, Lovino~” Kiku smiled.

“H-hey! Who are you calling cute, eh?!”

“Hmmm…” Kiku pretended to think. “You?”

Feli laughed at their banter. The observing nations blinked. Was Romano always this playful? Kiku turned red. How informal! To just joke around! But… at the same time, it also seemed to be so nice.

Romano, on the other hand, looked at his future self with surprise. He only bantered like that with his brother! Did that mean that his future self saw Kiku as a brother? As close as his own twin?

The group followed the three into a kitchen where Feli skipped through the room, making the group pasta.

“Arigatou, Feli!” Kiku happily dug into the fresh hot meal, as did Lovi. As the three enjoyed the meal, the nations watching became acutely aware of their own hunger.

“Hey, could we stop for a bit? The Awesome Me, is getting unawesomely hungry…” Prussia complained. Many of the other nations nodded in agreement.

“Saya?” Italy asked.

The scene around them warped into the now familiar break room. Everyone sighed in relief. “Shall I make everyone lunch?” England offered.

“NO!” Everyone yelled at once. Italy shared a look with China. They felt bad for the obviously hurt nation.

“England… why don’t you make everyone tea? Nobody can make tea as good as you.” He offered. China didn’t seem offended, either.

“Italy’s right, aru. Nobody can make tea like you can. Even I can’t make the teas you can. Though I am better at green tea than you.” China smirked.

“D-do you really mean that?” England asked, surprised.

“Yeah, dude! Seriously! I can’t get enough of your tea!” America grinned.

“But you dumped it all into the harbor!” England yelled.

“You sent me the cheap crap!” America argued.

“Well, it's a good thing I did, considering.”

“Anyways… let’s not fight, now.” Canada stepped in.

“He’s right. France, why don’t you make lunch?” Italy offered.

“Well, as long as everyone’s okay with it…?” Upon seeing the nods around the room, France brightened. “All right~! Any requests? Otherwise I’ll make a variety of dishes!”

While France prepared lunch, everyone else took the time to break up into smaller groups and rant, discuss, or just hang out with their friends. Romano was speaking to Japan and China, so Italy decided to spend some time with Russia, who was sitting alone on a couch.

“Mind if I sit here?” The cold nation blinked up in surprise.

“Da… but are you not being afraid of me?”

“Ve…” Italy looked down for a moment to put together his response. When he looked up, Russia was taken aback by the sorrow and loneliness in his eyes. “I missed you, you know. You’re still a very good friend of mine, Ivan.” Russia blinked in surprise.

“You… think I am friend?” He tilted his head like a puppy.

“Si. You are a good friend of mine. Sure, a little odd, but still a good friend. You are reliable and when push comes to shove, you’ll defend us.” Italy smiled, as he plopped down next to the large nation.

“Tea’s ready~” England’s voice chimed from the kitchen. Everyone filtered in, and enjoyed a very well-made cup (or two) of tea. England smiled in pride watching the others enjoy something he made.

Not five minutes later, France brought out lunch. “Sorry for the wait. Here’s the first course.” He smiled, setting down a mixed salad and some bread. He had his hair pulled back into a low ponytail, and a white apron on. Under the apron he wore black pants and a plain white t-shirt. His dark grey jacket was draped over his chair.

“I don’t remember you wearing that earlier?” America asked, confused.

“Well, I decided to change. I couldn’t be wearing a cape while cooking! That’s ridiculous!” France laughed. “I hope you don’t mind a typical French lunch?” He smirked as the others started in on the salad and bread.

Just as they were finishing up their starters, he brought out the main course; chicken with rice and vegetables and a side of fresh fruit. The group hummed in appreciation, as they enjoyed their meal. He then brought out the cheese course followed closely by dessert. Needless to say, by the end of lunch everybody was happily full, and enjoying a glass of wine, cup of tea, or cup of coffee.

“We… should probably get back…” England said at last, when all the tea was gone. Everyone sighed and looked wistfully at the empty plates and cups.

“Cheer up~ Fratello and I will make dinner for everyone tonight, so look forward to it!” Italy grinned.

Reluctantly, the group stepped out of the room and back into the memory. Feliciano, Lovino, and Kiku had just finished eating, and were walking down to the garage, where they showed Kiku their Roamer.

“Sugoi!” He exclaimed. It looked nothing like the large beetle-like busses that was commonly used by the Regios. Instead it more closely resembled a modern car, but sturdier.

“We didn’t concentrate on defense as much, seeing as we can fight the Contaminoids ourselves. But speed was one of our top priorities, seeing as anything we can’t take care of ourselves, we probably should run away from as fast as humanly possible.” Lovi shrugged.

“How fast can it go?” Kiku asked, curious.

“About 194 km/h (~120 mph) on flat ground.” Feliciano answered with a grin. “It may be able to go faster, but we ran out of road.” He chuckled.

The nations whistled. “That’s a fast car.” England praised. Considering the time and era, it really was fast.

“Well, it’s nothing compared to modern sports cars, but most of the Contaminoids can’t match that speed, including the larvae. So we didn’t really see the need in wasting more resources in making it even faster when this was fast enough.” Italy explained further.

“We were going to try to figure out how to make it run on something other than gasoline, but we haven’t found anything thus far.” Lovino told Kiku, who nodded.

“Gas is so expensive… when jobs barely pay enough for tuition these days…” He sighed. “At any rate, is the tank full?”

“Si. We always make sure it’s full when we leave it for a bit. Plus, whenever we come across any fallen Regios, we always try to make sure we scavenge any gas or other goods while we’re there. It has a very nice trunk.” Feli added in with a smirk. “It can hold 5 gas cans plus two people. Three if we squeeze.”

“Why would you need to put people in there?” Prussia asked, making his brother jump.

“You’ve been so quiet… I forgot you were here.” Germany muttered to himself.

“What?! You forgot the Awesome Me was here?!” He asked, hurt. So if I’m too quiet, I will be forgotten… He thought sadly to himself. After all, his greatest fear was being forgotten.

“Sorry, bruder. But it’s nice to see you so quiet for once.” Germany sighed. He supposed that now that he’d pointed it out, his brother would be loud and obnoxious again. Great.

The scene changed to the three of them seated in the Roamer, driving across the barren landscape. “We’ve been driving for almost three hours, do you think we should start releasing them?” Feli asked. Lovi looked at what the nations assumed was a GPS in the car’s dash.

“Yeah, we seem to be in a good spot, go ahead and slow down, and I’ll check the soil.” Lovi stated, while Kiku looked just as lost as the rest of them.

“What are you guys talking about?” Canada asked for the group.

“You’ll see. I believe Kiku asked the same question.” Italy replied.

“Nani? What’s going on?” Kiku asked as the car came to a stop. Lovi pushed a few buttons on his door, and a mechanical arm dug deep into the soil outside. He fiddled with a small handheld device for a minute, before giving his brother a thumbs up.

“Great!” Feli cheered, before doing something similar on his side, only it seemed like a large tube. He then took out a small glass vial from the center console and tapped a few small balls into the tube, and thusly, into the earth below.

“We’re planting.” Lovino answered Kiku’s earlier question.

“Planting??”

“Si~ We check the acidity of the soil every few hours of driving, and see if we can plant some seeds we managed to salvage from before the blast. We’re hoping to restore some of the atmosphere and the ecosystem.” Feliciano explained.

“Wow! Really?! Dudes, that’s incredible!!” America gushed.

“I agree, aru! That’s very admirable.” China nodded in approval. The other nations also hummed and spoke in approval.

“Sugoi!! I wish I would’ve thought of something like that!” Kiku grinned. “I think I tried that once, where Tokyo used to be… but I don’t think anything ever grew.” He sighed.

“Have you ever been back to check on it?” Lovino asked, raising his eyebrow.

“W-well, no, but—”

“Then how do you know?” He asked in challenge.

“Well, I should think that…”

“Ve~ Why don’t we drive by and check? It’s on our way anyways! It’s not like we’d be going in the wrong direction or anything.” Feli suggested.

“I don’t see why not.” Lovino shrugged. “You okay with that, Kiku?”

“Hai. It’d be nice to pay my respects to my people again.” He smiled softly.

“So did the old cities still stand?” America asked.

“Some of them did, others had long since been reduced to rubble or sand by this point. It really depended on the area, Contaminoid activity, and weather.” Italy answered. “There may still be remnants of it, but realistically… It’s been covered by sand by this point. It has been over 2800 years, by this point.” He tried to remind them gently. Italy, himself was so used to this kind of scene that he wasn’t sure what would or wouldn’t be too much for his friends.

The other nations looked distinctly uncomfortable thinking about the ruins of a very real and very populated city. Japan, especially. Would he be able to handle seeing it? Would he want to? He didn’t know how he’d react, but if his future self could handle it, then so could he.

The scene changed again to show them driving into a small crater-like area. There were sand dunes everywhere, and every now and then, there’d be these odd metal arches or supports sticking out like remnants of a long-forgotten people. Then, Japan saw an old shrine gateway, and started recognizing the area.

“Oh… This is… Tokyo.” He blinked to himself.

“What?! But! This place is! There’s nothing here!” America looked around, horrified, as did the other nations.

“Mon cher! Look!” France pointed to the skeletal remains of a toppled over Tokyo Tower.

“Iie…” Japan stared in despair at the proof of his heart’s destruction. Italy moved closer to Japan to give him some kind of comfort.

For the nations, this was one of the first things they’d seen that really hit home for them. That their homes… their cities… their capitols… and their countries were gone. Lost to the sands of time and their own ignorance.

“Ah! Tokyo tower. I’m surprised it’s still here.” Kiku smiled wistfully.

“You’re awfully calm about this?” Lovino pointed out. “Are you okay?”

“Hai. I visited here before, and I’ve since made my peace. If we can find that Time Fairy, we can fix it all. So why should I despair when I will have the chance to right it?” He smiled. “Huhu. Besides. I am very old, now. I’d be rather worried if I hadn’t come to terms with the truth yet. Tokyo is dead. I cannot change that. Not as I am now. If anything, it is a reminder for me to become stronger.”

“I admire future-you’s dedication and strength.” England spoke softly. Japan nodded, and looked up, somewhat inspired by his own speech.

The three once-nations drove in the direction of the fallen tower. Once they reached its base, they stepped out.

“What about the acidic air?” Canada asked.

“Well, we were only stepping out for a moment. In addition to that, the car can purify the air inside once sealed again. As nations, we’d be okay for a little bit. About three days, I think?” Italy answered.

Feliciano wondered away from the other two. Japan was bowing to the old tower, paying his respects to the people he’d lost and the friends that had died. Lovino, on the other hand, was inspecting something over by the dunes. Feli climbed one of the sand dunes to get a better look at the area. When he reached the top, he froze and his eyes went wide.

“Uh… Kiku…? Lovi…? I think you need to take a look at this.” Feli said, not taking his eyes off of whatever he’d seen.

“What’s wrong? A nest?” Lovino asked with worry as the two hurried up the slope.

The nations stiffened at the question. If it was a nest… could they survive? As Kiku and Lovino crested the top, they too, froze. “Mio, Dio…” Lovino said, eyes wide.

“I… I can’t believe it… Kami-sama…” Kiku breathed.

That’s when the other nations finally saw what it was. There, next to the ruins of the old tower, was a grove of Ginkgo trees. Growing. Alive. Green. Standing out quite starkly against the harsh world around it.

“I… I thought that plants couldn’t grow here?” China asked in awe.

“They can. It’s just incredibly hard for them to. Especially when there’s no seeds to spread around. That’s why fratello and I were planting so many—to try to cultivate the earth again. Try to get it all to go green again.” Italy explained.

The three stood there in awe. Kiku pointed to the tallest one in the middle. “That’s the one I planted… all those years ago…”

“How long ago?” Lovino asked.

“At least a millennia.”

“Wow! So these other trees must’ve been from the seeds of this one!” Feli grinned. “Come on! Let’s go~” He ran down into the forest.

Romano wrinkled his nose. “Don’t those stupid things smell like vomit?”

“Hai… but they’re incredibly resilient. I think that’s why I chose that tree to plant.” Japan smiled as he watched the three walking through the trees with wide grins of awe.

“Fratello~ Look! Fungi!!” Feli practically squealed with excitement.

“No way! Let me see?” Lovino was quick to dash over and stare in awe at the tiny mushrooms growing on the roots of a tree.

“Eh?! No way!” Kiku’s shout drew their attention away from the mushroom. “Look! It’s grass!”

“It’s sort of sad to see someone get so excited over grass.” England remarked quietly.

“Can you really blame them, amigo? Other than the Regios, they haven’t seen any sign that the world around them could sustain any form of life outside those monsters.” Spain stepped over, speaking in uncharacteristically quiet tone.

“No I can’t. I don’t blame them. It’s just sad.” He smiled softly, watching as the three stared in awe at the grass-covered field before them.

Feliciano was the first to run out into the field, and spin around laughing. He fell back into the grass, and dug his fingers into the dirt beneath. He relished in the green around them, and took a deep breath.

“Hey… fratello? Is it just me? Or is the air fresher, here?” Feli asked his brother.

“Hm? H-hey!! I think you’re right! My lungs don’t feel like they’re burning or anything. You know, aside from the smell.” He crinkled his nose.

“Hold on!” Kiku reached into his backpack and pulled out a meter of some kind. “It reads the acidity of the air…” He clicked it on, and swung it around for a minute before grinning. “Minna~! The air here! It’s half as toxic as it normally is! We could camp out here for a week before feeling any ill effects!” He laughed.

The other nations blinked at the sound. They’d never really heard Japan laugh like that before. Sure, he chuckled, but this was a full-bodied laugh, and it sounded infectious if the accompanying two laughs were anything to go by.

The nations smiled, the excitement and joy in the scene were contagious. “So it’s possible! We can make the earth inhabitable again!” Feli exclaimed happily.

“The fact that the Contaminoids haven’t come through here before means that the smell of the trees likely keeps them away. Perhaps, eventually, we could make an entire forest of them, and make a small town in the middle?” Lovino suggested, his eyes sparkling as brightly as the leaves on the trees around them.

“Hai~ That’d be amazing! I’ll help! Oh! Maybe we could make tree houses! And then—”

“Slow down.” Feli cut off a now pouting Kiku with a chuckle. “Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. This is incredible, yes. But it’ll take a bit for the trees to grow big enough for the protection to be worthwhile.” He reminded them.

“Do you think the animals will come back, too?” Lovino asked.

“Hai! I’m sure they will. And if not, well, we have the Regios with the animals from our time, hai? We could reintroduce them like the good old days.” Kiku smiled.

The scene faded out again to show everybody back in the car driving through the desert again. Though everybody seemed to be in much higher spirits. Feli and Kiku were even trying to get Lovino to join their impromptu karaoke session as he drove.

“Oh, look. We’re almost there.” Lovino announced, interrupting Feli and Kiku’s karaoke cover of DotA. The two scrambled a bit to get a better look as they neared an area that was covered in snow.

“So that’s the Winter Border. I’ve never seen it before.” Kiku admitted.

“We’ve seen it a few times. It’s so surreal how it’s just there all of a sudden.” Feli said, clicking a few controls on the dash. The car seemed to rise up a bit and jerk a little before settling back down and continuing on through the snow with no issues.

“What did…?” Kiku asked, bewildered.

“He just switched it to snowmobile mode, that’s all. It just swaps out the regular sand-wheels for the belt instead. That way, we won’t sink into the snow and get stuck, you know? That’d be really not fun.” Lovino explained.

“Fratello, lookie~ I can see a Regios in the distance!” Feli pointed to a faint outline.

“So you can. All right, everybody hold on!” He grinned as he revved the engine.

“A-ah! M-matte!” Kiku panicked for a moment. “Where’s the seatbelts?!”

“Seat belts? What’re you talking about?” Feli grinned. “There aren’t any~!”

“Oh, no…” He looked like he was having a horrific flashback, but he was only remembering the one time he’d let Italy drive him back from a meeting.

The nations chucked at Kiku’s expense as Lovino floored the car, turning a somewhat bumpy ride into something that felt like a speedboat through the ocean. By the time they came to a stop, Kiku looked rather green, even though Feli and Lovi seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

“Please never do that again.” Kiku groaned, trying to hold down his lunch.

Lovino hopped on the radio. “Hello? Hello? Can anybody hear me? Over.”

“This is Regios 2177468, Iceur.” The reply came through loud and clear. “We don’t have any Roamers scheduled. Who is this? Over.”

“This is a privately-owned Roamer. We’re requesting entrance, over.” Lovino replied.

“Identification number? Over.”

“013. Over.”

“W-what?!” The guy on the other end gasped. He’d never heard of a three-digit number! Surely 013 would be far too old for use! Even the privately owned Roamers were at least five digits! And the public transport had eight!

“S-sir?” The man turned to his supervisor. “I have a privately-owned Roamer requesting entrance. Identification number 013…” The older man blinked in surprise.

“013, you say? If I remember correctly, that’s the number of the Vargas Brothers private Roamer…” He blinked as his own words registered. “Well?! What’re you waiting for?! Let them in! Don’t leave a man out there to die!”

“R-right!” He hopped back on the radio. “Request approved. Standby for the ramp… O-over.”

Lovino sighed as he heard the reply. “Noob. How much do you want to bet they’re freaking out in there about us being the Vargas Brothers who built the Regios?”

“I don’t take suckers bets, fratello.” Feli replied.

The nations watched as a large ramp lowered from the still-moving Regios. “It takes a certain amount of skill to be able to dock. The Regios can’t afford to stop moving, as it would not only be dangerous, but take far too much energy to get it moving again, so you need to be able to match speed just right and hit the ramp at just the right angle to avoid the Roamer flipping.” Italy explained. “Roaming bus drivers have to take practical tests for their license, and then intern for a year before they can drive on their own.”

“I see… That makes sense. It’s no different than our driving tests today.” Germany nodded as he watched Lovino hit the ramp perfectly, and drive on up like it was the simplest easiest thing in the world.

“Eh, walk in the park.” Lovino smirked.

They watched the three go through a customs of sorts, where they filled out their paperwork with their names, ages (lied of course), Regios of residency, Roamer ID Number, and their Dite serial numbers.

“Oh… our serial numbers for our Dites?” Feli chuckled a bit. “I knew we’d forgotten something.”

“Is there a problem?” One of the men asked.

“Well, that’s the thing. We made the Dites ourselves, but sort of forgot to register them. We heard an old friend of ours might be living here, and just rushed over.” Lovino explained.

“Well, if that’s the case, we can register them here.” He replied.

“That’s good.” Kiku smiled, as they handed the Dites over for registration. That’s when the guy tried to activate them, as per protocol.

“What the? I think your Dites are defective… I can’t get it to activate at all.” He furrowed his brow.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Here, allow me.” Feli said as he took his back. “Restoration, 0-1.” It formed into a sword. “It takes a bit more than the average Kei.” He explained as the guy just stared slack-jawed.

“R-right.” He stuttered as he filled out the paperwork. “Well, everything seems to be in order. Welcome to Iceur.” He smiled, handing them their visas.

The three walked out into the Regios for the first time, staring in awe at the winter-covered world around them. It definitely had a Russian touch.

“Oh? Is this my Regios?” Russia asked. Italy nodded with a bit of a sad smile. I must’ve died, then. The Russian thought to himself.

The three nations explored the Regios, running from one store to the next with childish excitement. They laughed at the funny masks and crazy hats and Lovi bought an elaborate Matryoshka. Feli bought himself and Japan scarves.

They turned when they heard a woman shout their names. “Italy?! Japan? Romano?!”

The three turned more than shocked to see a woman with long platinum blonde hair pulled back into a high ponytail run over to them. Her purple eyes stood out against her pale skin, and she wore black pants with a fitting crop-top with netting. She didn’t seem to be bothered by the cold at all.

“You can’t be serious!” Romano screeched as he recognized the girl.

“Belarus?!” Feli answered in shock.

Russia jumped, not having been able to recognize his sister. “She is looking very different, дa?”

“Yeah! So you guys made it out okay! I’m so relieved.” She smiled happily. The nations just stared. Was this really the same psychotic bitch that stalked her brother all day demanding he marry her?

“Belarus-san?” Kiku asked. “Forgive our rudeness, but…”

“Didn’t expect me? That’s all right. I suppose I have changed a bit. But it’s good to see you all. I haven’t seen another nation in almost a thousand years! Last one to visit was Iceland.”

“Iceland’s alive? That’s good.” Lovino smiled.

“Yeah. But like I said. A thousand years.” She looked down at her shoes for a moment before her head whipped up. “Oh, no! I completely forgot! I told him I’d be back soon!”

“Told who?” Feli asked, curious.

“Ivan, my brother.” She answered distractedly.

“You mean Russia? He’s alive, too?! That’s magnifico~” Feli grinned and spun around.

“Y-yeah…” Natalya looked uncomfortable.

“Belarus-san? What’s wrong?” Kiku asked, sensing something amiss.

“Well, it’d probably be best if you see it… I can’t explain it too well… But, Russia… he was hurt in the Initial Blast…” She tried sidestepping the question.

“Hurt how?” Lovino asked.

Russia and the other nations shifted nervously. How badly had the Russian nation been hurt that Natalya was worried like this two thousand years later?

Belarus lead the group to a nice quaint house, passing by a central monument with a carving of Ukraine on the top. “So she didn’t make it?” Feli asked quietly. Belarus shook her head.

“She died saving Ivan.”

“I thought you always used to call him big brother…?” Kiku muttered to himself, low enough that the others couldn’t hear. She went up to the front door of the house, and let herself in.

“Ivan! I’m home! I brought friends with me. And so help me, you better not have touched your birthday cake!” Natalya warned. That’s when Ivan came running around the corner with a large childish look on his face.

“Big Sister~! You’re home! You’re home! You took forever! Did you buy me a present?! Toys?! Sweets?!” He asked excitedly.

The nations stared. What was going on? He was acting like…

“He’s a child.” Kiku realized, as he watched Natalya pat him on the head, and send him to his room to play with his new stuffed bear, a chocolate bar clasped tightly in his happy hand.

“Yes. He lost all his memories from before the initial blast. He doesn’t remember being a nation.” She let that sink in a moment before she continued. “Beyond that… I’ve had a few doctors take a look at him. He’s mentally unable to age past a child. He’s about 12 at most, and he’ll never grow up. So he’s my baby brother, now.” Natalya smiled sadly.

“I see. So he doesn’t remember us at all.” Kiku sighed for a moment as he let the information sink in.

Russia stared. How was he supposed to feel about this? Happy? Because his sister cared enough to still take care of him even when he was a burden? Sad because he’d forgotten all his friends? Scared because he could do so that easily? He wasn’t sure how to feel.

America stepped over to the conflicted blonde and put a hand on his shoulder. Russia looked up in surprise. “It’s okay. We’re going to prevent this, yeah? Besides. You aren’t alone. You’ve got me, and Italy, too!” He grinned.

Russia blinked as he registered one of the emotions whirling inside of him. Jealousy. He was jealous of himself. Jealous because he had someone willing to stick with him even when it would’ve been so much easier to just leave and not come back.

“I am not alone?” He asked America, blinking in surprise.

“Naw, man! You’ve got me~ The HERO!” He laughed.

“But you are always fighting with me?” The Russian tilted his head, confused.

“Dude, of course! I can’t think of any one else who could be my rival!” America grinned. Russia stared.

“Rival?” America saw him as an equal?

“Of course! Weren’t you listening? I pick fights with you because we’re rivals! Rivals and friends!” He gave him a thumbs-up.

They watched as the three had dinner with the two newly found nations. They all stayed up to talk while Ivan was sent to bed.

“But I wanna stay up!” He complained.

“No. You know the rules! No staying up past your bedtime! It’s already 8:00! That’s your bedtime. So unless you want me to drag you to bed again…?”

“N-no, it’s okay Natie. I’ll go to bed.” He sighed, disappointed.

‘Natie?’ Lovino mouthed to his brother when nobody was looking. Feli just shrugged.

“Ve~ It’s okay, Ivan. We’ll be here in the morning. We can play then, yeah?” Feli offered. Ivan’s expression brightened considerably.

“Really?! You will? Promise?! YAY!” He cheered, and dashed off to his bedroom.

“Better brush those teeth, mister! I’ll be checking!” Natalya warned.

“Y-yes Natie~” He practically skipped off to bed. It was sobering for the nations to watch an adult act like a little kid. Yeah, Russia was plenty childish normally, but this was… different. Different because he really was a child on the inside, and he’d never be able to grow up. He’d never be able to make adult decisions or anything of the sort.

The scene changed again. This time, it seemed like it’d been a few weeks, because the three nations were packing up and getting ready to leave.

“Grazie for having us for so long.” Lovino said to Natalya, who shook her head.

“Not at all. It was good to have you. Please, come back and see us every now and then. Ivan just loves you!”

“Please, Lo?” Ivan looked at Lovino with teary eyes. “Do you have to leave?”

Lovino sighed as he gently patted Ivan’s head (the platinum blond was sitting on the floor, dejected). “Listen, Ivan. I’m your friend, right?” Ivan nodded. “Then believe in me when I say I’m going to come back and visit, okay? Then we can play together again. But you’re going to be a good boy for your sister, right?” He raised an eyebrow as he leveled a stare at the other once-nation.

“Yeah! I will! Just you watch, Uncle Lolo! I’ll be a really good boy! And I’ll take good care of my big sis Natie~!” He grinned and gave Lovino a thumbs up.

“Lolo?” Romano looked at Italy with a what-the-fuck face. Italy just laughed.

“It appears that Ivan has taken a liking to you, Romano-san.” Japan chuckled.

“I am wanting to thank you.” Russia said, smiling at Romano.

“What the fuck are you thanking me for?!”

“Because you were being so nice to future-me and playing with me and being good friend. I am thanking you for not leaving me to be lonely.” He smiled. Romano went red, and looked away.

“T-that’s future me you should thank. I’m still a bastard!” He twitched a bit before he corrected himself. “I-I mean you’re a bastard!”

“It’s okay, fratello. I think we all know what you mean.” Italy smiled at his brother’s embarrassment.

“Grazie~” Feli called back as the three got back in their Roamer. “We’ll come back and visit sometime!”

With that, the three of them drove off, leaving Iceur behind. It took them nearly a day and a half of driving before they hit the snow line again. Once they hit the desert, which greeted them warmly, their pace increased.

The nations had a mild scare when they ran across a mature Contaminoid, though.

“My GOD! It’s huge!” France shrieked, when he spotted it. The others turned to see an enormous Contaminoid flying after the tiny in comparison Roamer.

“Holy fuck!” Romano cried out. “Would we even be ants to that fucking thing?!”

“No, but we’re enough of a challenge to be worth the hunt. And the kill.” Italy answered calmly.

“HOW can you be so calm about this?!” Germany snapped, worried for his friend.

“Gee, I don’t know? Couldn’t be because I lived through it or anything?” Italy bit back sarcastically. Internally, Romano was proud of his sarcasm—he taught him that.

“Either way, that’s a really, really big bug.” Prussia summed up. It was even bigger than the mother they’d seen before—so bigger than a whale! Its legs were rather tiny, and it looked very hungry.

“Shit! Fratello!” Feli called out.

“I know, I know! I see it! What you think I’m blind?!” Lovino snapped back.

“If I may?” Kiku interrupted. “I can take care of it.”

“By yourself? You sure?” Feliciano asked. “I can help, too. It’d be safer that way.”

“If you insist.” He conceded, making the watching nations relax a bit.

“Good. If you’d gone out there alone, I would’ve been very cross.” China crossed his arms and shot his dìdì a glare. Japan stiffened. He didn’t even want to go out there at all, let alone by himself! Future him was suicidal or something! IIE! No way! No way he’d want to fight that thing!!

As Kiku and Feli stepped out into the air, Kiku hummed to himself thoughtfully. “Ah~ This brings me back.”

“To the days of the Axis? God, how long ago was that?” Feli asked.

“Almost 3,000 years.” Kiku answered as he drew his Dite like one would draw a katana. “Restoration.”

“Wow~ So long? I feel old~ I wonder if this is how China always felt?” Feli wondered aloud as he, too, formed his Dite. “Restoration~” His also taking a sword form.

“Ready, Japan~? Let’s go~ It’s been forever since we fought together!” Feli had a wide grin on his face as his eyes shone in excitement.

“Hai!” Kiku agreed, also looking excited for the battle ahead.

“Why are you so happy?” Germany asked, thoroughly confused.

“Ve? Well, it’s not like any Regios were in danger, and I hadn’t fought alongside Kiku in forever~ So I suppose I was just having fun? I mean, yes Mature Contaminoids are nothing to scoff at, and Kiku and I were at a bit of a disadvantage, but it a world like this…” Italy gestured around himself, “you either fight, or you die. And we’d lived in it for so long… and we got so used to fighting… that we learned to enjoy it. There’s nothing like a good life-or-death battle to get your blood pumping.” Italy finished with a wicked grin. “Ehehe~ Sorry if that startles you…” He rubbed the back of his head. “I just kinda got caught up in the moment.”

“Iie. I can understand.” Japan nodded. He’d been much the same way in his samurai and ninja days.

“I suppose I understand, too.” England thought back to his pirate days. “It’s just been a while.”

“Si~ I remember my days on the sea~” Spain grinned. “I suppose we have been at peace for a while, haven’t we?”

“Don’t you dare insinuate that I don’t know what that feels like.” Romano glared at his brother, who quickly shook his head.

“N-no! Of course you understand!” Italy defended.

“As nations, we can all relate on some level, aru.” China put a hand on Italy’s shoulder.

“Yeah! Especially when you’re as Awesome as Me!” Prussia proclaimed.

“We are just not being used to seeing someone relate war to giant bugs…” Russia shivered.

Feli and Kiku ran at the thing from either side. The Contaminoid turned towards Kiku, as Feli jumped up to an unreal height, and landed on its back. Kiku distracted it on the ground as Feliciano cut off half its wings in one pass. The Contaminoid, now off-balance, fell to the ground where Kiku made to slice the whole thing in half with Feliciano helping from the other end. The nations watched in awe at their teamwork. The beast fell, dead to the earth and did not rise.

Feliciano and Kiku waited for several minutes, before they returned to the car.

“I’m almost disappointed.” Feli sighed.

“Hai. It was too easy. I expected it to regenerate or something.” Kiku also sighed.

“Well, look on the bright side? The Dites work?” Lovino tried his best to cheer them up.

“Yeah, but I couldn’t put all my kei into it.” Feli deflated even more.

“Back to the drawing board, I suppose.” Kiku looked ready to cry.

“Wait! Isn’t it a good thing that it was so easy to kill?” Romano looked around, taking comfort in the fact that he wasn’t the only one confused here.

“Well… Kiku and I had wanted a challenge. It looked more mature than it was. My guess was that it had simply had a good meal and molted a few times while it slept. So it looked stronger than it was. That’s why we were disappointed.” Italy explained.

The scene changed to the three returning to Glendan. Feli, Lovi, and Kiku went to what appeared to be a castle in the middle of the city. One of the guards went to stop them at the gate, but Lovi held up a badge of some sort.

“Here, it’s real. If you must, then call a member of the royal family.” He sounded bored, like this sort of thing happened every day.

The guard looked at the badge incredulously, before handing it to his partner and ordering him to take it to a royal member for verification.

“What’s that all about, dude?” America asked.

“Well, it’s a badge to show that we’re members of the royal family, you know? So it grants us access to everything on Glendan. It’s the best they could give us short of naming us the immortal gods of Glendan, but we decided to forgo that route.” Italy chuckled.

“I can see why.” England muttered.

The guard came back at a full run. “I’m sorry! Please, come in. Oh! Take this back, too!” He practically fell over his own feet trying to apologize for their rudeness.

Feli and Lovi waved the guy off, as they took back the seal and went inside with Kiku. The first place they went to was the throne room, which had a rather pretty brunette woman and a dark-haired olive toned man sitting in the thrones.

“Ah! Feliciano! Lovino! It’s been too long, my friends!” The man greeted, getting up to give the two of them hugs. “I haven’t seen you since I was, what ten?”

Lovino smiled as he took the king by the shoulders and held him back. “Let me get a good look at you! You’ve grown up very well, Carlos! I’m proud!” He ruffled his hair.

The guards looked distinctly uncomfortable with these total strangers treating their 37-year-old king like a child when they, themselves, looked only to be twenty-five at the most.

“Carlos? Would you mind introducing us?” The woman spoke, getting up from her throne.

“Ah, of course! I’m so sorry, my dear. I suppose I just got a little excited.” He smiled appeasingly at his wife.

“Feliciano, Lovino, meet my lovely wife Maryanne. Mary? Meet my childhood mentors and the Guardians of the Royal Family, The Famous Vargas Brothers, Feliciano and Lovino Vargas. Though I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know your companion?”

“Childhood mentors? Surely you mean the current title holders of Vargas Brothers, right?” She tilted her head as the twins introduced Kiku as an old friend of theirs.

“No, no, my dear. They’ve been around for longer than Glendan has! They built Glendan, actually. It’s a common misconception. They are un-aging.” King Carlos explained.

“Si.” Feli cut in. “We even remember a time before the Contaminoids.”

“Surely, you jest! They’ve been around since before written history!” She laughed.

“No, my dear. So have they.” Carlos informed his queen.

“It makes you sound very old.” Canada commented.

“Thaaaanks.” Italy stretched the word sarcastically.

“I didn’t mean to offend.” Canada amended, but stopped when Italy sent him a smile.

“I didn’t take any offence. I know I’m old. I’m older than China, now.” He winked.

“Aiyaa! That’s right, aru! Does your back hurt? Are you achy? I have great herbal rubs that help old bones feel young again.” He grinned as the others laughed.

“Grazie! Now that you mention it, my back does get sore a lot.”

“O-oi! Don’t go getting all ‘old man’ on me, now!” Romano protested.

“Well—”

“No! I won’t allow it! I’m the fratellone here! And I refuse to let my little brother be in pain!” He crossed his arms like a stubborn kid.

Ve… it’s been a while since the last death. They’re getting complacent again. Like it’s some kind of movie or anime or something instead of something that really happened… Italy thought morbidly to himself. I mean, it’s good that they’re all enjoying themselves, I suppose, but… I really hope they take this seriously.

They watched as the king and queen ate with the three nations. As it turned out, the queen was a history nerd, and bombarded the three with all kinds of questions about the world before the Regios.

“So what was the world like before? What happened to wipe out the Ancient countries?” She asked after dinner. “Is it true that the old cities didn’t move?”

“Well… The people back then had harnessed a power that was probably too much for them to handle. There was an accident, and one of these containers for this power blew up, causing all of them to blow up. The Blast Point Islands used to be a giant land mass, but that’s where the initial explosion was, and it was blown into chunks of land.” Feli explained as the humans listened, enraptured. Even the guards’ interest was palpable. “It made the air toxic, and blocked out the sun for months. The world grew very cold, and many plants and animals died. But before all that, the world had billions of humans! People were everywhere and would move around constantly! Towns and cities were innumerable, and there were so many different countries and languages! Art was beautiful, and water was fresh and clean, and the rain! You could go out and dance in the rain all the time! People would plant gardens and grow all kinds of things! Everything was so green, and there were these giant forests with nothing but trees and wildlife! And insects were so tiny, you could squish them under your shoe!” Feli grinned as he explained his homeland to them. “I was from a country called Italy, where we spoke Italian. We had the most magnificent food, and the wine~!

The royal couple listened enraptured as Feli and Lovi both took turns explaining how the world used to be to them. Even demonstrating their mastery of Italian to them. The guards seemed equally in awe of the new knowledge.

“So the entire world was green?” Carlos asked, practically bouncing in his seat.

“Oh, yes. Well, there were still deserts and whatnot, but there were many parts of the world that was green.” Kiku smiled, remembering the bamboo forests of Asia.

Feliciano had been working on a drawing, having asked for colored pencils earlier. “There~ Finito~!” He grinned as he held up an incredible drawing of some of the most beautiful landscapes Earth had to offer. From the ice caps to the redwood forests to Mount Fuji and beyond. It showed festivals around the world, and towns and cities from all over too.

The nations whistled appreciatively of his art, amazed that he could draw all that in just an hour or two.

The people in the memory, however, were absolutely enraptured. “So this is where you grew up? The world you came from? Was this ever even the same planet? It seems so different…” Carlos breathed.

“Oh, it was the same world, all right.” Lovino assured them. “Just the same world about 3,000 years ago.”

“T-three thousand years?! That’s how old you are?!” He asked, slack-jawed.

“Actually, we’re about five thousand years old, now, aren’t we?” Feli asked his brother.

“Give or take a few centuries.” He shrugged. The humans stared, slack-jawed.

“How… is that possible?” The queen asked.

“Well… we weren’t human to begin with.” Feliciano explained. “Originally, we were personifications of the nations of the world. I was Northern Italy, and my brother was Southern Italy.”

“Hai… I was Japan. This landmass that we are now on, used to be my nation. Though it was a lot smaller a few thousand years ago. Much greener, too.” Kiku sighed.

“So… you were nations?” Carlos blinked.

“Si. I mean, yes. Yes we were. We represented our people and our lands. So many of us died in the Initial Blast while the rest of us merely became mortal. We don’t really age, but if we’re injured we’ll die permanently, now.” Lovino nodded.

“Wait…” Mary shot them a confused look. “You mean you were immortal before hand?”

“Oh, yes.” Kiku answered. “You could kill us in whatever way you’d like—running us through, burning us to ashes, or even decapitation—and we’d revive so long as our lands and people were safe.”

“Unbelievable!” Carlos gasped. “I mean, after what you’ve shown me, of course I believe you, but… this is just so incredible!”

“You know… They laughed when we first proposed the idea of the Regios. They said it couldn’t be done.” Lovino said as he idly leaned back in his chair. “So Felice and I… we built Glendan all by ourselves from the ground up. Designing took a few months… and building took nearly a century.”

“To be fair, we had to stop every three weeks and rest.” Feliciano pointed out.

“Y-you… all by yourselves?! Planning and everything?!” One of the guards gasped, before clapping a hand over his mouth. “I-I’m terribly sorry, my king.”

Carlos laughed and waved his hand. “Nonsense! You may speak! All of you have ears, so I know you must have questions! If the three of you don’t mind, that is?” He looked at the once-nations who shook their heads.

“I do not mind. Go right ahead!” Kiku smiled.

“You see… my family originally comes from Upwhur, and they’re very much so into Regios construction.” The guard grinned. “They’d honestly laugh if I tried to tell them I met the Vargas Brothers.”

“Oh?” Feliciano shared a smirk with his brother before he reached into an inner pocket. “Then here. Think of this as a gift.” He handed the man what looked to be an iPhone of some kind.

“Wh-what is this?” He turned the small rectangle in his hand.

“Here’s the instruction manual.” Lovino chuckled as he handed it to him. “Authentic Vargas Brothers ORBiT.”

“N-No way?! The unheard of technology that you use to build Regios?!”

“Part of it. May you and your family prosper for many generations to come.” Lovino nodded sharply.

“Ve~ Though we really shouldn’t take all the credit. This kind of tech was common before the Initial Blast.” Feliciano smiled. “Pretty much everyone owned a phone and could communicate instantaneously with anyone and everyone all around the globe! It really is amazing what mankind achieved…”

“Yet it’s only after the apocalypse that we found a way to make Automail possible.” Kiku sighed.

“That aside, we’ve still made leaps and bounds in mechanical technology.” Feliciano pointed out.

“True, but I still feel like this would’ve been helpful a few millennia ago.” Lovino huffed.

“At any rate, thank you again so much for having us for dinner~” Feliciano grinned at Carlos and Mary.

“You’re welcome any time!” Mary giggled, before a servant entered the room. “Ah, right on time, as usual Timothy.” She sent the boy a smile, and he flushed.

“Of course, my Queen.” He handed her something. She then stood and walked over to Kiku.

“Any friend of the Vargas twins is a friend of ours.” Carlos spoke. “So we had this made for you. Now, you have as much access to this Regios as they do.”

Kiku looked down at the box he’d been given, and opened it to find a small medallion, just like the one Feli and Lovi showed to the guards outside.

“A-arigatou!” Kiku thanked them in Ancient Japanese with a bow, before correcting himself and repeating his thanks in the dialect of that time.

“W-was that Ancient Japanese?!” Mary’s eyes gleamed with excitement.

“Come now, darling, you can’t expect them to spill all their secrets in one night.” Carlos chuckled. “Make a list of questions for the next time they visit, and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to indulge you.”

“Ve~ Of course!” Feliciano piped up cheerfully. The five of them laughed and talked until the scene faded out.

“Japan.” Feliciano’s voice filtered in through the darkness. “There’s someone we’d like you to meet.”

“Oh?” The scene faded in to show the three of them standing in the Core of Glendan. “You mean Glendan, hai?”

“No. Someone else.” Lovino grinned as Saya stepped out from behind a pillar.

“You came to visit me?” She asked, a tiny smile playing on her lips.

“Si~ How could we not?” Feliciano ran over and gave her a hug.

“This is Saya.” Lovino introduced. “She’s Glendan’s… er… I suppose you could say she’s Glendan’s Guardian.”

“Oh? Yet not the spirit?” Kiku tilted his head as he observed the ethereal girl.

“No. I was human before the Regios were even built.” Saya stated, looking at Kiku with mild interest. “You are a nation. Like them.”

“Hai. I was known as Nihon, or Japan.”

“I see…” Saya trailed off as she examined the Dite that hung at Feliciano’s side.

“Oh, this?” Feli grinned. “We call them Heaven’s Blades. We’re trying to make Dites that can handle a nation’s full kei energy, but…”

“It’s not going too well. This is the closest we’ve gotten, but it’s still not enough.” Lovino sighed. “It’s also partially why we came down here.”

“Oh?” Saya tilted her head as she picked up one of the Dites that Feli had offered her.

“Si.” Feliciano picked up where his brother left off. “Glendan is a Regios of high-leveled kei warriors. With all the fighting that goes on, here, we’d like to entrust these Heaven’s Blades to you. Find the right people to wield them. I know there are several people who burn up normal Dites like a Nation does… Perhaps this’ll be what they need. And god knows Glendan can use all the strength he can get.”

“Obviously we’ll keep three with ourselves for now until we create more suitable Nation Dites.” Lovino nodded sharply as he handed over all but 3 of the Heaven’s Blades to the girl.

“I understand. Rest assured, I will find suitable wielders for these Dites.” Saya sent them a small smile.

“Grazie.” The twins said in unison, even as Kiku echoed it with his own words of gratitude. The scene faded out.

The next scene showed the nations in their lab in Upwhur again, working on the Dites.

“Almost… there…” Kiku was working on some finer mechanics with a magnifying glass.

“Looks like you three are exhausted.” England pointed out, gesturing to Feli and Lovi who had fallen asleep in their chairs and were now drooling all over the desk. Kiku had dark circles under his eyes, too.

“Hehe~ We were determined to get the Dites to work!” Italy proclaimed. “Though I admit, we might’ve worked ourselves a little too hard.”

“Just a tad.” England agreed, as he watched Kiku sit back and rub at his eyes.

“Almost…” He popped his neck and knuckles—“That’s bad for you, aru!”—and went back to work. A quick time-lapse showed him working for hours, before finally shutting off the light. “There. Done. Now, to test it.”

“Hope it works, this time.” Upwhur flitted down from the rafters.

Kiku took a stance, and channeled his Kei into the Dite. The moment he pushed his Kei into it, it started to transform. It was originally a plain white Dite. Black started to creep over it, crisscrossing like the hilt of a katana. Underneath, there was a red circle with sunbeams of the same color spreading out like the Imperial flag of Japan.

“N-nani? It changed?” Kiku looked at the Dite, bewildered. “Well, let’s give it a go, then.” He took a deep breath. “Restoration! 0-1!” The Dite transformed into a Dite-type sword, turning all black. “I wonder… Restoration! 0-2!” It changed again, this time into a Japanese katana with a silver blade and a black and white hilt. A small keychain hung off the hilt with a modern Japanese flag.

“Ah~” Kiku marveled at the katana. “A katana? I haven’t seen a Dite with this form before!” He made a few experimental slashes. On one, he slashed in a wide arc and water burst forth from his blade, striking the wall before him.

Watch it!” Upwhur screeched, as he flew to a safer spot. He sent the dark-haired man a reprimanding glare.

“Sumimasen!” Kiku apologized, looking at the deep gash left in the wall. “Sugoi! Hmm…” He smiled like a kid on Christmas. “Restoration, 0-3!” The handle warmed up, and Kiku nearly dropped it as the blade disintegrated into what appeared to be thousands of tiny cherry blossom petals that swarmed around him awaiting direction. “What is this, Bleach?” He muttered to himself, before practicing with the new technique.

The nations watched in awe as Kiku discovered his new power.

“Is that…?” France asked.

“Si. The first Celestial Blade—the Dites made for Nations.” Italy confirmed.

The watched as Japan then collapsed and his Dite de-activated, worrying the other nations. “Relax!” Italy spoke up. “He’s just asleep. He hadn’t slept in almost two weeks.” He assured them.

The memory dimmed before brightening up again to show Feli and Lovi picking up their white Dites for the first time, too. Feli’s turned an icy-blue color with white scroll markings like frost creeping over it, and Lovi’s turned a dark golden-yellow color with flames of red, orange, purple and black creeping up from the base.

Romano smirked. He liked the look of his Dite. Lovino and Feliciano activated their Dites at the same time. “Restoration, 0-1!” They cried, as Lovino’s became a typical Dite sniper rifle, and Feliciano’s became a sword-type Dite.

“Restoration, 0-2!” Feli yelled, as his Dite split in two down the middle and became a pair of twin short-swords with the same icy design. A blast of cold air froze the wall he slashed at, and he smirked. “Fratello, look! My winter powers work with this form~”

“Really? I wonder… Restoration, 0-2!” Lovino’s transformed into twin black handguns with red and purple flames creeping up. He smirked and fired off a few shots at the training wall—as it was now dubbed, seeing as Kiku had already damaged it. While it looked like normal bullets at first, a small explosion went off every time it hit the wall, leaving scorch marks. “Now that is cool.” He grinned.

“Restoration, 0-3!” Feli called out again, as it transformed into what looked like a whip with hundreds of golden strings attached. He started sticking the ends to the wall and floor, and whooped as he was able to climb up into the rafters. “They support my weight and everything!” He cheered.

“Are you sure that you should be up there, Ita?” Prussia looked up. The lab was a place where Regios were built, so the rafters were insanely high. The Empire State Building may have been able to fit in there, for goodness sake! So the albino was more than a little wary of letting the klutzy Italian climb up so high with no safety gear.

“Really?” Lovino asked, reaching for one, before hissing and snatching his hand back. “Ow!” he looked at his bleeding palm. “That’s sharp! What the hell is that, razor wire?!”

“That would be useful against multiple enemies.” Kiku noted.

“Yeah! We could—whoa!” Feli lost his balance and started to fall.

“FELICIANO!!” Lovino cried out. His cry was echoed by multiple nations.

“Wait! You’re mortal, here, right?! So a fall like that would kill you, right?!” Romano panicked. “Permanently!?”

“Y-yes…” Italy admitted, as the other nations started to panic too.

“0-4!” Feli cried out on reflex, meaning to activate the threads again. Instead, the blade of the Dite vanished—much to the nations alarm—and a pair of white-silver metallic feathered wings formed on Feliciano’s back, halting his decent as he safely glided down to the ground.

He sat there on his knees in shock for a moment, before he looked at his new appendages. “What in the world?”

“Looks like your Dite saved your ass.” Lovino stared in awe.

“Well, you always did seem the angelic type to me.” Kiku admitted as he looked closer at the fourth restoration. Feliciano looked like he was wearing some kind of vest made of metal. It wrapped around his chest and the wings reacted to his thoughts.

“Mechanical technology truly is amazing.” Feliciano grinned. The nations gaped in shock.

“Now I really want one.” America muttered.

“I’m just glad you’re okay.” Lovino came over and hugged his brother. “Don’t you dare do anything like that again! You hear me?!” He looked rather pale, as the earlier brush with death started to really sink in for the older twin.

“You don’t have to tell me twice.” Feli agreed, looking shaken, himself. “Though I wonder if you can do the same thing, fratello?” Feliciano asked, as he stood back up.

“I don’t know? Restoration, 0-4!” He called, as his blade disappeared too, and formed a pair of black metallic demon wings on his back. “I’m cool with this.” He nodded with a wicked smirk. Then he jumped into the air, and flapped his wings. Kiku and Feli watched in awe as he flew.

Feliciano also decided to give it a try, and took a running leap into the air and joined his brother. Kiku thought for a moment, before deciding to give his a try, too. “Restoration, 0-4!” For a moment, it seemed like nothing happened, when part of his blade broke off and transformed into a hover board, while the remaining part separated into a pair of daisho, or Japanese twin swords. “Oh yeah!” He smirked as he jumped on his hover board, and joined his friends in the sky.

“Dude! No fair! You have a real hover board! Like, a real hover board!” America pouted.

“Don’t pout, it’s unbecoming.” Canada chastised his younger twin.

“I’ll pout if I wanna pout.” He stuck his tongue out childishly. Canada just sighed in defeat. “Goodness gracious.”

“I’ll admit. That’s pretty awesome, Japan! Think you can make me one of those?” Prussia asked, casually putting an arm around the shoulders of the now uncomfortable Japanese nation.

“I-I don’t even know how to yet!” He protested.

“Yeah, but when you do figure it out?”

“Perhaps… We shall see…” He evaded, ducking out from under Prussia’s grasp.

“That is pretty cool.” Germany admitted.

“Don’t you think it’s time for a break?” France asked, looking at the group.

“Probably a good idea.” Italy agreed, as the scene faded away and the nations appeared back in their break room.

“So… who was going to make dinner again?” America asked.

“We were, idiota.” Romano answered, dragging his brother into the kitchen to start the food.

“Ve~ grazie fratello~!” Italy grinned as he and his brother started making pizza and pasta for dinner.

“You know… I still want to know where my future self is.” Romano breached the topic. Italy stiffened for a moment, before he stonewalled his brother.

“No.”

“But—”

“I said, no, fratello. You’ll have to wait. Let’s not ruin the good mood of the night, si? It’s been a long day, and I think there will be some bad things in tomorrow’s memory. So let’s just enjoy the gentle atmosphere while we can, okay? Please?” Italy looked at his brother. Romano stared back for a good minute.

“All right. But if it doesn't come up by tomorrow, then… please tell me? I need to know, fratello.” Italy hesitated before he nodded.

“Grazie.” Romano thanked him.

“Can you also pass me the oregano?” Italy asked. Romano sighed and tossed it to his brother. “Thanks!” He grinned.

“Idiota. Better save me some damn good pasta.” Romano expertly ignored his brother’s raspberry as he put the pizza in the oven.

Dinner was a delicious and joyous affair for the nations. They joked and played and poked harmless fun at one another, relieving the stress from the past two days—had it really only been two?

One by one, they all slipped into their rooms—as the Aurora had finally accommodated them with an actual house to sleep in this time—to get some well-deserved sleep.

Once again, Italy stayed up to keep watch. Alone. It’ll likely show that tomorrow. If the memories continue at this pace. Then should be done in just a few days. I hope this is over soon. I don’t want to see any of this again. And yet… I miss it. Is that bad? I miss the people I knew. People who haven’t even been born yet! Who may not ever be born, now. But isn’t that what I wanted? The image of a brown-haired boy with bright blue eyes popped into his head. Layfon… I hope you were okay…

 

 

 

A/N: Hey~ Sorry it’s been forever, guys! So a lot has been going on in my life, lately, and most of that’s blown over, and so I’m finally back! :D I’m back to writing, and to prove that, I’m going to update EVERY ONE OF MY HETALIA STORIES! So look forward to it! I’ve already updated HetaOni: Italy’s Story, and this one jumped out at me to be next, so here you go! I think Memories of Old will be the next to be updated, so keep an eye out for that within the next couple of weeks. ^^ As always, please review, I love to hear your feedback. And if anyone wants to, feel free to do fanart of any of my stories, just pm me the link when you’re done. ^_^

 

 

Words: 9,077/10,385

Pages: 18/21

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2018

Edited: Thursday, April 18, 2019

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: Sangue

The next morning dawned on the sleeping nations with a melancholy Italy still watching over them. He looked tired and stressed, as he’d not only gotten no sleep the night before, but had spent most of that time agonizing over which memories were coming up. He knew that particular memory wouldn’t be far off. Perhaps they’d even see it today. We probably will… he thought to himself, letting his shoulders sag in depression.

His head suddenly whipped up as his instinct screamed at him that something was amiss. What could it be? He stilled, straining his eyes against the grey expanse of nothing that made up the Aurora. He thanked his gut silently for telling him to keep watch from the roof of the house.

There! He heard it this time. The unmistakable cry of a Contaminoid. “Shit!” He cursed, jumping to his feet. “Everybody up!” He barked through the open windows, startling the nations out of their slumber.

“Italy?” France asked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He’d appreciate a few more hours of sleep. “What’s wrong? It’s still early.”

“Up!” He demanded again, scaring the nations with his no-nonsense tone.

“Dude? What’s wrong?” America shook himself awake and stood up, alert and surveying his surroundings, as the other nations joined them outside. He squinted at a steadily growing black dot in the sky heading towards them.

Italy stepped forward. “Stay behind me. And for the love of whatever you hold dear. Please don’t try to help.” He ordered, pulling out his Dite. “Restoration. 0-2!” His dormant Dite suddenly transformed into the twin short swords they’d seen in the memory yesterday.

“O-oi! Veneziano? What’s the matter?” Romano asked, anxious. If his brother was activating his Dite

“We’re about to have company. Like I said earlier—stay back. I can’t guarantee your safety or survival unless you stay out of my way.” He sent a glare in the direction of the Nations. Maybe this will make everything more… tangible for them?

Then, with very little warning, Italy sped off to meet the enormous Contaminoid. Now, seeing it in person and up close—somehow very different from the memories they’d been watching thus far—everything started to feel so much more real to the nations. They watched, too scared by the sudden appearance of the grotesque monster for even Romano to try to keep his brother from running towards it. Though every one of them was equally terrified for themselves and Italy.

Italy, however, had no such reservations. “Oh, it’s you.” He smirked, feeling the familiar trill of excitement run through him. Oh, how I missed this. He recognized this particular Contaminoid as one who’d escaped him in Glendan once. “Let’s finish this, shall we, Edgar?” He let out a low chuckle as he nimbly and elegantly dodged a very quick strike, lashing out with his own blades to cut off a limb. He flared his Kei as he did so, causing ice to spread across the injury, preventing the creature from regenerating as quickly.

He then jumped high, slicing off wings on both sides, jumping off just as the beast hit the ground, causing a massive shockwave that made the observing nations stumble badly. He then cut it down the middle, trying to find its heart before it could regenerate.

The nations, on the other hand, watched on in awe. Italy was moving with such speed that even those more attuned to following quick movements could make out no more than a blur.

“When did Itary-kun get so fast?” Japan wondered aloud.

“Maybe he was this fast in the memories, but because they were his memories, we never noticed?” America suggested, still trying to digest that the freaky overgrown cockroach in front of him was real.

Prussia let out a low whistle as Italy sliced the thing in half. Again. “Is it just me? Or does it almost look like he’s having… fun?”

“Yeah, he is. Veneziano’s always enjoyed fights like this. Ones that challenged him. He never liked war because it drags innocent people into a conflict that isn’t theirs, and forces him to fight against his friends. But personal fights? Yeah, he loves them. We both do.” Romano elaborated, stuffing his hands in his pockets. Hey, there was no way he could fight that thing. And if his brother couldn’t beat it, then they were all screwed. So there was no use in worrying himself. Either Veneziano would win, or they’d all die. He still wished he could work one of those Dites, though.

It took Italy a good twenty to thirty minutes of constant fighting and jumping around before he finally found the stupid heart. “There!” He smirked wickedly as he diced it into tiny pieces, causing the Contaminoid to roar in pain and frustration as it finally curled up and died, falling to the ground—its wings re-grew earlier—with a monumentous crash, landing just behind Italy like some epic movie scene.

Everything was silent for a moment before Italy deactivated his Dite and casually walked over to his friends. Only when he came closer did they see how beat-up he’d gotten in said fight (they hadn’t really registered when the Contaminoid had thrown him from the air multiple times).

“Well, that was a workout. Didn’t expect him.” Italy rolled his shoulder to work out a few kinks before looking himself over to take stock of his injuries.

“DUDE!! That was kick-ass! That was awesome!” America started bouncing in place.

“Aiyaa! How many broken bones do you have?!” China rushed forward to help tend the injuries—he got thrown to the ground three times!—but Italy just smiled and waved him off.

“Relax. Bruised ribs, bruises, and cuts. Nothing that needs stitches or anything else. I just look bad because I’ve always bruised easy. Nothing major.” He shrugged, looking at the disbelieving stares of the others. “Internal Kei. I reinforced my body whenever I took a hit. I fought this Contaminoid before, in Glendan. He still had the same battle strategy, so I just remembered the last time and used that information to defeat him for good this time. The only reason he got away beforehand was because there was a child I had to save.”

“Still, man! That was incredible!” America gushed.

“Well, seeing as we’re all awake, and I doubt anyone will want to head back to sleep after that, why don’t I make breakfast?” France offered. The others nodded in agreement; glad to have a distraction from the very large very real dead Contaminoid lying outside of their temporary house.

About an hour later, amidst the friendly chatter of the nations, the environment around them shimmered back to the lab from the future once more.

“Hey! We weren’t ready yet!” Prussia protested.

“Apparently, the Aurora was.” Russia shrugged.

They watched as the three stood before a gate-like object that looked like something out of a Stargate Atlantis episode.

“Dude, what is that?!” America looked like he wanted nothing more than to poke it.

“It’s the teleportation device.” Italy stated proudly.

“You mean you finished it?!” Romano blinked in surprise before studying it more closely.

“So you have to—” Lovino started to explain something to his brother, before Feli cut him off.

“Fratello! For the millionth time, I know what to do. I use my Dite’s power to fly over to the Blast Point Islands, set up the other side of the portal, and come back through said portal. As quickly as possible.” Feliciano rolled his eyes, obviously having heard his brother say this more than once.

“But you have to be careful. Don’t forget! That suit will only protect you for three hours maximum in that kind of environment. Beyond that, you’ll die. Permanently.” Lovino crossed his arms.

“We’re just worried about you, Feli-nii.” Kiku smiled softly.

“I know, I know.” Feli looked a little guilty. “I suppose I’m just nervous, is all. Nobody’s been to the BPI since…” He teared up a little bit as he thought of Alfred.

“I know. I miss him too.” Lovino said softly, as Kiku looked down for a moment. America didn’t say anything, but he was touched that these three nations would still be so affected by his death all these millennia later.

“But that’s why we’re doing this, hai? To honor his memory.” Kiku smiled.

“Okay, I’m heading out.” Feli gave them a thumbs-up as he donned a futuristic looking skin-tight suit with a helmet and an oxygen tank.

“If our calculations are correct, it’s roughly a two-hour long flight from our current location to the Islands.” Kiku stated, typing on the computer at a rapid speed. “Setting up the equipment should only take you ten minutes or so maximum. Once that’s complete, send us the signal, and we’ll open the portal from our end. If all goes well, we can start transferring the materials immediately, and get you back here with an hour to spare.”

“Right.” Feli grinned, before opening a small hatch in the floor, revealing the moving ground beneath the Regios.

“Do be careful, Master Vargas. I have grown rather fond of you.” Upwhur called out from his perch on Kiku’s shoulder.

“We’ll keep in radio contact the entire time, so if you need anything, please let us know.” Kiku reminded him.

Feli gave a nod as he dropped down, activating his Dite’s fourth restoration, forming the wings from yesterday’s memory.

“So you are flying all the way to America?” Russia asked, a little surprised that he could keep that form for so long.

“Si. Out of the three of us, not only was my form the fastest, but I could hold it for longer than either Fratello or Kiku. So I was really the only option to go.” Italy gave the nations a shrug.

The memory blurred for a moment before refocusing on a flying Feliciano. The nations looked down to see land… or what was once likely land. It was a desolate landscape of earth. No plants… no animals… the occasional rock formation that dared to rise out of the flat expanse looked extremely weathered and worn down. It was surreal, and some of the flat areas on the surface of the ground was nearly reflective.

“Okay, I’m here.” Feliciano spoke as he landed, leaving footprints in the fine sand.

“Good. Set up wherever looks good.” Lovino’s voice came over the headset.

“It’s so… different.” Feli sounded close to tears. “There’s nothing here, fratello. Just… nothing.”

America swallowed hard. It hurt him to see what would’ve become of his nation if Italy hadn’t come back in time to save their asses. He didn’t know if he could ever repay the Italian for what he’d done.

Feliciano threw a small box to the ground. “Portal Cube 0-1. Activate.” The box glowed and beeped for a moment before it started constructing itself into a Portal Gate like the one back in the lab. Meanwhile, Feli decided to take a look around.

“Oh? What’s this?” He asked himself when he saw what looked like an odd piece of rock sticking up about an inch from the ground. He tried to pick it up, but it wouldn’t budge. He thought for a moment, before creating an ice-shovel with his winter powers and dug. A small time-lapse of a few minutes showed that he’d uncovered the flame of what was once the Statue of Liberty.

“Oh, God.” America breathed, realizing his city had been buried beneath millennia of erosion and sand. He hadn’t realized he’d been crying until Canada wiped away a stray tear. He felt nauseous and had to clap his hand over his mouth to swallow back his bile. My homeland… my country… my people…

“Oh, Al.” The quiet nation brought his twin into a hug. Nobody commented on America’s tears. All things considered, they’d be surprised if he didn’t cry. The rest of the nations were beyond disturbed at seeing the ruins of a well-known city.

“America…” Feliciano spoke sadly. “I’m sorry nobody could protect you like you always tried to protect us. In the end, you were a true hero, no matter what anyone else says. I’m glad, though… that you didn’t survive to see what this world has become.”

Feliciano’s head whipped up when he heard the distinct sound of a Contaminoid approaching. “Shit!” He cursed under his breath. In his moment of grief for his fallen friend, he’d let his guard drop.

“Feli-nii?!” Kiku’s urgent and worried voice sounded across the radio. “What’s wrong?”

The portal had finally finished forming, but Feliciano kept his gaze on the quickly approaching massive monster. “Well, the portal’s ready, Fratello. But I’ve got a bit of an uninvited guest. I’ll entertain him while you gather the materials.” He activated his Dite, forming the twin blades, and ran off into battle.

“Wait! Feliciano! Ack! He never listens to me.” Lovino huffed as the portal whirled to life. The blue light swirled like something straight out of a sci-fi movie before the image cleared to show Lovino and Kiku standing in the lab, also decked out in the same suit that Feli wore. Lovino glared but started moving the soil across the portal.

“Feli! Be careful!” Kiku warned. “You don’t have much time left. You’ve got maybe thirty or forty minutes before your oxygen tank is eroded through.”

“I’m fully aware, thank you!” His reply came out a little snippy as he barely dodged a strike from the scorpion-like beast. It raised its tail threateningly, and Feliciano only barely managed to avoid the strike that followed. He was then blindsided by a strong hit from its claw, which threw him across the sandy tundra into a rather large pit that had formed from his brother’s digging.

“I’m almost done!” Lovino informed. “Are you okay?!”

“Well, I’m alive. But it’s getting painful to breathe…” He glanced back when he heard a hissing noise. “SHIT! My tank’s been compromised!”

“That doesn't look very good.” Prussia gulped, seeing the puncture in the tank.

“No, really?” Romano bit back a little harsher than was probably necessary, but he was worried, damnit!

“Fuck! Feliciano Vargas! Get back here NOW! I’m closing the portal!” Lovino ordered, but Feliciano found that some of his tank equipment was stuck between some of the now unburied rubble of New York.

With a few choice words, he detached his equipment, and barely dodged the massive tail that would’ve impaled him.

“Too close.” Feli muttered, before coughing violently. He was moving a lot slower, now, as he switched his Dite to its fourth restoration, flying out of the death pit and back towards the portal. “Close it!” He ordered through a heavy coughing fit.

“What?! But you—”

“NOW!!” Feliciano cut his twin off.

“… Che. I hope you know what you’re doing.” Lovino cussed under his breath as he typed in the sequence.

Feliciano passed safely through the portal just a moment before it closed, trapping the scorpion on the Islands. He landed in a heap on the floor of the lab.

“Feliciano!” Kiku cried out, hurrying to get the helmet and other equipment off of him.

His breathing was labored, and he looked pale. “Shit! How much of that did you breathe?!” Lovino demanded, but his only answer was a terrible cough from his brother. To their horror, blood splattered to the floor.

“O-oi!” Romano flinched when he saw that.

“My lungs couldn’t take the acidity of the air there. Don’t worry, though! Kiku saved my life.” Italy reassured the nations.

“Lovino, back off! I can help!” Kiku quickly laid Feli on his back and held his hands over his chest. They started to glow a warm green color, and Feli started to breathe easier. He kept this up for nearly twenty minutes until sweat was dripping heavily from the Asian’s brow.

Finally, he pulled away. Feliciano was now in a gentle slumber. “There.” He panted, exhausted. “I’ve fixed what I can. He’ll need some rest, now. He’ll be fine.”

“Arigatou.” Lovino’s shoulders sagged with relief as he thanked the other nation. He didn’t even bother to wipe the tears from his eyes.

“What was that?” England asked, looking at Japan.

“Do-don’t ask me!” He shook his head.

“Another gift that Kiku had obtained from an Electronic Spirit. He gained the ability to heal from Guia. However, it costs a heavy amount of kei.” Italy glared at Japan in annoyance. “You nearly pushed yourself to death trying to save my life. And while I’ll thank you for doing so, you really should’ve been more careful. You were unconscious for nearly as long as I was!”

“And how long was that?” Romano asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Three weeks.” Italy sighed.

“Yikes! I’m glad you survived, though!” Prussia grinned.

“Yeah, me too.” Italy smiled softly. “I’m so glad I was able to prevent all this.”

“You know…” America looked up at the sky for a moment. “I want to thank you again, Italy. You went through hell for us. Because you never gave up hope, we never had to die or see this kind of future.” He leveled Italy with a rare serious look. “We owe you our lives. Each and every one of us.”

“He’s right.” England nodded in agreement.

“Da… If you need anything at all, I will be there.” Russia smiled.

“And if you ever want something… you can count on me.” Canada grinned. The others started piping up, but Italy just stared at them, flustered.

“I-I-I don’t want you to think that you’re indebted to me or anything!” His face burned a bright red, making Romano laugh and poke his cheek.

“I know you don’t get sunburns. I don’t think I’ve seen you flush this hard since that one Easter where mpff—” Italy’s hand clapped over Romano’s mouth as he shot his twin a furious glare.

“You said you’d never mention that!”

“Mention what?” Romano shot back. “This is payback for earlier, in the tunnels.” He stuck out his tongue.

“You’re such a child, fratellino.” Italy teased.

“OI! I’M THE OLDER ONE!”

“Not anymore.” Italy smirked. “I’ve got a cool five thousand years on you, now.”

“That’s not exactly something to brag about, you know.” Romano pouted.

The scene darkened before coming back. This time, they were standing in an unfamiliar city.

“Where are we?” France asked, confused. Italy grinned.

“You’ll see.”

“Finally!” Lovino had a proud smile on his face, which was mirrored by the other two nations.

“It’s finished!” Feliciano proclaimed.

“Hero’s Freedom!” Kiku hoisted an American Flag up the central pole of the newly christened Regios.

America looked around. It felt like home, in a sense. The architecture looked like a conglomeration of some of his major cities. He could make out touches of New York, California, hell, even Texas and Maine! He spied a (very) miniature Golden Gate bridge off in the distance, and a Statue of Liberty replica in the East. A miniature White House seemed to be the main welcoming center, and there was even a large statue of himself with a bald eagle on his shoulder in the center of the Regios. His statue-self wore his signature bomber jacket with the number 50 on the back, and his right arm was outstretched towards a new horizon. A large grin full of excitement and hope finished off the statue, and America couldn’t help but cry when he saw the plaque honoring not only himself, but his people.

“Thank you.” America smiled at the three.

“Don’t thank me, I didn’t do anything.” Romano held up his hands defensively. Japan also turned his head.

“It was the least we could do. You were as much a victim as anyone else.” Italy explained with a soft smile. “This is 3200 TF, by the way.”

“It took you almost a thousand years to build this?!” China gasped in surprise.

“Technically it only really took us a little over two hundred years.” Italy corrected. “We had to finish the teleportation machines first. And let me tell you! Those Portal Gates are very tricky to make!”

“Ready for Launch?” Feliciano asked, speaking into a headset. The nations realized that Lovino and Kiku were nowhere to be seen. In fact, they realized that they were now back in Upwhur.

“Si. All ready on my end. Kiku?” Lovino’s voice sounded.

“Hai. The citizens are all prepared. Everybody’s ready.” Kiku announced.

“Attention, People of Hero’s Freedom! The Regios will now commence launching sequence. This is Feliciano Vargas speaking, one of the creators of the Regios you have now chosen to call home. My brothers and I dedicate this Regios to a good friend of ours—To Alfred F. Jones! GOD BLESS AMERICA!” He hit a button and the Star Spangled Banner played as the Regios took its first steps into the world on its own. The American flag flew proudly atop the highest point in the city, and America felt tears well up in his eyes, as they were shown the newest city carry off into the distance.

“Thank you. I can’t thank you enough.” America gave Italy a watery smile.

“I understand, America. That’s why I wanted to do it.” Italy gave his fellow nation a hug. “I’m glad I could revive some part of you.”

The scene faded out. It took longer than usual for the next scene to crop up. It showed Feli, Lovi, and Kiku all riding together in the Roamer.

“So that lead was another bust.” Lovino huffed as he drove. Even Kiku seemed disappointed.

“Hai. I feel like we’ve spoken to every fucking Regios there is! I’m starting to wonder if we’re chasing a fool’s dream.” Kiku’s cussing startled the other nations, and Italy stiffened.

“Hey, Saya? Can we break for lunch?” Italy asked, as the memory paused and shimmered back into their break house.

“Italy? Is something the matter?” France asked, concerned. Italy had never stopped a memory in the middle before.

“Well, I’m just hungry and—”

“Cut the crap. Something really bad’s going to happen, isn’t it?” Romano cut him off. Italy looked down and nodded.

“I don’t think anyone will want to eat after watching the next memory, so I thought that maybe we should eat now.”

“Another death?” Germany asked gently. He hated being unable to help his friend when he was hurting.

Romano stiffened. So that was it. No wonder his brother didn’t want to talk about it. He must’ve died. That was the only explanation. Or gotten so badly hurt that he was comatose or something. Or maybe he lost Kiku? Maybe I’m not dead in the future, and it’s only Kiku. Either way… I have to try to help him somehow. But is there anything I can do or say to make it better?

“I’m not exactly hungry right now. Anyone?” America asked, uncharacteristically quiet. The rest of the nations shook their heads.

“So I suppose that means we’re all in favor of continuing the memory?” Prussia asked, and in answer to his question, the memory faded back in.

“Don’t say that!” Feliciano clenched his fists as he glared at Kiku. “It’s real! I know it is!”

“I’m not saying that it isn’t!” Kiku quickly defended himself. “But you have to think… what if we don’t find it? Or what if, when we do it only has the power to turn back time a couple of days or years?”

“It’ll work! It has to!” Feli argued.

“Fratello, you’re being unreasonable. We both knew that there was always the possibility that this fairy didn’t really exist. We’ve been chasing rumors for millennia! Perhaps it’s time we—”

“Give up?! No! You two want to give up and live in this God forsaken world, fine! But I’m not going to give up! I can’t! We’ve lost everyone! How could we possibly—”

The Roamer was suddenly T-boned hard, causing it to fly through the air. Luckily, Kiku seemed to have won the earlier argument of putting in seatbelts. The three were jostled around like ragdolls before the vehicle finally rolled to a stop.

Romano couldn’t help but wince at the earlier argument and subsequent attack. He didn’t have a very good feeling about this.

“FUCK!” Lovino cursed as he grabbed his Dite and a small rebreather. He tossed another rebreather to the other two.

“Those are small devices we developed to purify the air as it was taken into our lungs. They work for short periods of time.” Italy softly explained. He didn’t want to watch this. He didn’t want to relive this. He still had nightmares.

Outside was a very large, very angry Mature Contaminoid. And it wasn’t alone. “Is that…!?” Feliciano gasped as he recognized the scorpion Contaminoid from the Blast Point Islands.

“Just so you guys know…” Italy’s voice sounded hollow, which only served to increase the nations’ anxiety. “It’s 3502 TF.”

“How the fuck did it get here?!” Lovino yelled as the three of them activated their Dites, and begun the battle. They took care of Scorpion’s companion easily enough. Feliciano’s golden threads in his Dite’s third restoration sliced up the nameless Contaminoid very nicely. But sometime during the fight, they’d lost track of Scorpion.

“Hey…” Lovino stopped, looking around at the now very quiet battlefield. “Where’s the other one?”

Kiku and Feli immediately went on high alert. Unfortunately, they hadn’t expected it to burst out of the ground behind Lovino.

“It buried itself?!” Kiku cried out in shock, as Lovino whirled around to slice off its pincers. His Dite, however bounced harmlessly off the large claw that it brought forth to guard itself with.

“Che! That claw’s too strong! Feli! Go around!” He called out, barely dodging a tail swipe.

“Right!” Feliciano dashed as fast as he could to get around the creature, but was knocked away and into a nearby rock so hard that he left a crater.

“Fratello!” Lovino cried out in worry. The Scorpion took its chance and grabbed Lovino harshly with its claw before throwing him up in the air.

“Oh, God… no…” Spain’s eyes widened in horror as he realized what they were about to witness. Even Romano was pale and trembling slightly.

Feliciano looked up in horror. “FRATELLO!” He screamed. “NOOO!” His scream was terrible. Unearthly. The pain encompassed in that scream made several nations flinch violently. Canada in particular looked ill.

Lovino looked up for a moment, seeming to lock eyes with the nations watching. “Futura praeteritis sunt. Memoriae!” He called out. “If I’m going out, then I’m taking you with me, you overgrown cockroach!” He turned and streamlined straight for Scorpion’s mouth. Then there was a terrible crunch, and then a terrible silence. A moment later, the Scorpion self-destructed as Lovino sacrificed whatever life was left within him to rapidly expand the Kei in his body, causing a rather spectacular explosion.

“I’m sorry!” Italy cried, hugging Romano for dear life. “I’m so sorry! I should’ve saved you! I—”

“Shh. Shh, that’s enough, Felice… It wasn’t your fault.” Romano comforted him quietly. But those words… Why would he say those words before he died? What purpose did they serve?

It seemed that Kiku was also horrified by what he’d just witnessed. “Futura praeteriti— what now?” He spoke the words aloud in confusion, as he numbly made his way towards Feliciano.

“Feli-nii?” He asked gently. Feliciano showed no sign of having heard him. He continued to stare at the place his brother had perished. “Feliciano?” Kiku tried again.

“Fratello? Where’s my brother? Kiku, where’d he go? He’s hiding, right?” Feliciano asked brokenly. Kiku looked at him with sorrow and pity.

“I’m sorry… I couldn’t protect him.” Kiku deactivated his Dite. “But we need to get you taken care of. You’re hurt.” Kiku gently touched the back of Feliciano’s head, his hand coming away with blood.

“Aiyaa… what a nasty concussion…” China muttered.

“Hold on a moment…” Kiku quickly made his way over to the Roamer and got out the first aid kit. He wrapped Feliciano’s head after disinfecting the wound as best he could. “There. That should do until we can get back to—” He stiffened for a moment before he whirled around. It seemed that the first Contaminoid wasn’t as dead as it seemed.

“It can regenerate?!” Kiku cried out in shock. He had barely enough time to grab Feliciano and shield him from the brunt of the blow.

“DIDI!” China cried out as Kiku and Feliciano were thrown a fair distance. The smaller nation did his best to take the brunt of the landing for his golden-eyed companion.

“Itai…” Kiku winced, stopping for a moment to spit up blood. He gasped for breath as his shirt started to turn red. Even still, he was more concerned with his friend. “Feli!” It seemed that the poor Italian was still in shock.

“Daijobu… I’ll protect you.” Kiku promised as he re-activated his Dite. The battle was fierce and gruesome. With his injuries, Kiku was much slower than normal, and Feliciano came out of his shock enough to notice this. He staggered to his feet, barely able to keep his balance. His steps seemed to take more effort than they should’ve and he appeared to have problems focusing. His concussion was so bad that he could barely walk. The nations watching knew that there was no way he could possibly help Kiku in this fight.

They continued to watch the scene in shock and horror until Kiku finally managed to kill the heart of the Contaminoid. The beast fell and curled up, dead. Kiku staggered back to Feliciano, but collapsed partway there, too weak to stand back up.

Feliciano staggered over to his fallen friend. “Kiku! You-you’re going to be okay!”

But as soon as the nations got a good look at his injuries, they could tell that he was lying. “Italy.” Kiku stated seriously, causing the golden-eyed boy to quiet down. “Listen to me. We both know I’m not going to make it. Not with the medical technology of this time.” He stopped to catch his breath. “And we aren’t immortal anymore…”

“Please! You can’t just leave me alone! I… I can’t do it!” Feliciano sobbed.

“Y-yes you can.” Kiku sent his friend a smile. “I’m sorry. For earlier. That time fairy… it’s real. I know it is. You can find it. If you must have hope to move forward, then hope! Find it… I promise you… I’ll watch over you…” His eyes started to dull, and the nations could see that he was nearly gone. China grabbed Japan’s hand to assure himself that his dìdì was alive. “I wonder what Lovi-kun meant? Futura praeteritis sunt. Memoriae…” With that, Kiku’s chest stilled, and he went entirely limp in Feli’s arms.

“K-Kiku?” Feli asked, brokenly. He gently tried to shake his friend awake. “I… I’m sorry, too…” He sobbed. They were terrible, broken sobs as he cradled his old friend.

The nations had tears in their eyes too. After watching everything Feli and Lovi had been through together… and then Kiku… And now Italy was left all alone? How did he manage to go on?

The scene changed again, but this time, they found themselves back in the break room. The heavy atmosphere was something nobody dared to break.

“Futura praeteritis sunt. Memoriae…” Japan muttered under his breath. He wanted to know what that meant. But as soon has he said it, he felt a horrific headache flare up. He gasped in pain as he clutched his skull. The room seemed to crack and splinter and tilt sickeningly.

“Japan!” China cried out, catching his brother as he fell. He seemed out of it, like he was in too much pain to be aware of his surroundings.

“Japan?! What’s wrong?!” Italy asked in worry.

“Give him some space!” Germany demanded, causing everyone to back off. It took several minutes, but Japan eventually shook his head, coming back to himself.

“Oh.” He said. Then, much to the shock of the room, he started to cry. But before anyone could do anything, he started laughing.

“Uhhh…. Is he okay?” America asked, concerned. He seemed like he had a screw loose all of a sudden… well, more so than nations usually did.

Japan calmed down, wiping away his tears. “Hai. I will be fine.” He answered softly.

“Gomen, Feli-nii. I didn’t mean to die on you.” Japan locked eyes with Italy, and there was a sudden flash of disbelief and understanding.

“N-no way! But… how?” Italy asked, numbly.

“Do you still have it?” Japan asked, holding out his hand. Italy nodded and handed him his Dite.

“Restoration, 0-2.” He stated, forming the Katana. He smiled softly before deactivating it.

“Wait! The Awesome me is very confused!! What’s going on?!” Prussia shouted, startling the group.

“Romano-kun.” Japan looked over at the Italian. “Do you remember those words future-you spoke before…?” He trailed off, a pained look overcoming his features.

“Yeah. Why?” The older Italian shifted uneasily, not sure where this was going.

“Say them.” Japan left no room for question. This wasn’t a request; it was an order.

“W-what?” Romano was somewhat offended. Where did Japan of all people get off ordering him around!?

“Just trust me.” Japan gave him a wry smile. Romano hesitated for a moment, before he sighed.

“Fine. Futura praeteritis sunt. Memoriae. There, happy?” He crossed his arms, before he also experienced a similar phenomena to Japan. The Asian nation caught him, and gently laid him down on the couch.

“Would you mind explaining to the rest of us what’s going on?” England spoke up.

“Oh, my fucking head. A little warning would’ve been nice, Kiki.” Romano glared at the Japanese nation.

“I told you not to call me that!” Japan glared back, before smirking. “Luigi.

“Gck! Why you—!”

“Will someone just explain what the hell is going on?!” Germany’s voice rose above the spat, silencing the two. Romano gave a heavy sigh.

“I can explain it.”

“Please, by all means.” England gestured for him to begin.

“If it helps at all, I’m confused, too.” Italy admitted.

“Japan and I have regained our memories from our pa—er… future selves.” Romano stated.

“WHAT?! Is that even possible?!” France cried out.

“Those words… it’s a spell I found years ago. I never thought I’d have a way of using them, though. You see, it literally transfers memories from ones future self to their past self so long as One, the future self has said the words, which marks the point of the memory transfer, and Two… if the past self says those same words. It was my backup in trying to prevent everything. Even if we couldn’t go back in time, maybe our memories could.” Romano explained.

“But how were you going to make our past selves say these words? It’s not like you could’ve known we’d suddenly be watching the future or anything.” Japan pointed out, raising an eyebrow incredulously.

“I hadn’t figured that part out, yet. But I figured that, ‘hey, I’m gonna die right now, so fuck it!’ And… Well, you know the rest.” He shrugged. “Never expected you to repeat those words, though, Kiku.”

Japan shrugged. “They sounded familiar, and it’d been so long since I’d heard Latin that I’d forgotten how to translate it.”

“So essentially, you two are now future you?” America pointed towards Japan and Romano.

“Essentially.” Romano shrugged, before Italy whacked him upside the head. Hard.

“OW! The fuck was that for?! O-oi! D-don’t cry!”

“YOU ASSHOLE! YOU FUCKING IDIOTIC, STUPID, ARROGANT, SELFISH, CONCEITED ASSHOLE! YOU FUCKING DIED ON ME YOU PIECE OF SHIT! SORRY EXCUSE FOR A BROTHER!” Italy screamed at Romano before hitting him again. He then pulled the startled Italian into a hug.

“O-oh, Felice… I’m so sorry. Veneziano… I never meant to die. I…” Romano looked close to tears, too.

“I’m also sorry, Feli-nii.” Japan, surprisingly enough, joined in the hug.

“I’m just happy I’m not alone anymore.” Italy smiled. “I mean, I’m sorry you two have to remember, but—”

“Iie. Stop it; we’re a family, hai? I’m glad we’re back together, too.” Japan ruffled both of their hair and gave them a fond smile.

It was a heartwarming scene for the nations. Especially after watching such a tragic moment in Italy’s life.

“Still… What a headache!” Romano complained, and Japan winced in sympathy.

“Yo, I found some painkillers earlier. Here.” America tossed the pill bottle to the two, who briefly fought over it childishly. Japan won, and stuck his tongue out at Romano, causing Italy to giggle. He then took out what was needed before passing it back to the Italian, who sent the Japanese nation a mild glare.

“If anyone’s hungry, I made us all some lunch?” Canada spoke up, gesturing to the table, which was laden with food.

Everyone eagerly dived on in, thoroughly enjoying the meal. After that last memory, it was nice to have a lighter atmosphere.

Italy was thrilled to have his brother and honorary brother back. It was hard to be surrounded by friends that he no longer really knew. Now, at least, he wasn’t alone.

 

Words: 5,515/6,189

Pages: 11/13

Date Posted: 12/09/2018

Edited: 04/18/2019

 

A/N: Hello everybody~! Look! Another update~ Lucky you, right? I’m almost finished writing the next chapter for this story, so keep an eye out. But I’ll make this announcement twice.

 

First thing’s first. Come January, 2019, I may not be able to update for a while. I’m joining the US Army (Yes, for those of you who asked, I am American). This means that I won’t have as much free time to write and post stories as I do now. So I’m trying to update all my stories one more time before I’m shipped out to Boot Camp. (Though these new experiences should make for wonderful writing resources!!)

 

Secondly; I know several of you were either disappointed or just plain not happy with the Fourth Restoration of the Dites last chapter. I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but it was something I’d had planned since the beginning of this story. As a general rule, for any story, if you don’t like something plot-wise, please don’t write a review saying how stupid it is or how you’d do it differently. It does hurt the author’s feelings, and it’s honestly rather rude.

 

Thirdly~! I plan to post one new story. I’m not sure yet if it’ll be Hetalia or Harry Potter, so please let me know which you’d prefer to see (Since some of my posted stories are nearly complete, I figured it was about time to post something fresh.)

 

Thank you all for reading. I know my Author’s Notes tend to be lengthy, but please leave a review, even if it’s just ‘I liked it. Write more.’ Or something. I read all of your reviews~!!

 

Happy Winter Solstice/Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa~! (Did I get them all?) :P

 

Song of the Post: Christmas Can-Can. You can find it on Spotify or Youtube. It’s hilarious!

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: Oscurità

After they’d eaten, the Aurora decided to throw the group straight back into the memories.

“What? No break?” France asked, affronted.

“Suppose not. Guess we still need to see more today.” Prussia deflated a bit. He’d been looking forward to a day of no more memories.

The scene showed Feliciano sitting in the lab in Upwhur. The steampunk owl was perched beside the depressed Italian, who had his head in his arms and was staring off into space.

“Oh, dear. Feliciano… Why don’t you go outside? It’s been months since you’ve seen the sun! I’m very worried about you.” The owl tilted his head in what the nations assumed was concern.

“Why bother? What do I have left to live for? I’m all alone… again.” Feli looked dead inside. There was no emotion to his voice.

Romano and Japan both flinched badly as they shared a look. They figured that Italy wouldn’t take their deaths well, but… this was worse than they’d first thought.

Upwhur sighed. “And as usual, you don’t give me any real response. I suppose you won’t humor me at all?” He paused for a moment, but Feliciano made no move to reply. He simply sat there, staring at two familiar Dites.

“Speaking of Dites…” Romano said, looking at his brother.

“Oh, here.” Italy casually threw his brother his Dite.

“Grazie.”

“Prego.”

A sudden loud BANG startled Feliciano and Upwhur as the door to the lab was thrown open.

“I say! I did not permit you entry!” Jarvis sounded rather cross.

“Yeah, yeah! Stuff it! I’m here to see my friend!” A man with white hair and red eyes marched into the room and went straight up to Feli and smacked him upside the head.

“P-Prussia?!” Feliciano blinked in shock.

“Who else?” He smirked for a moment before letting the expression drop. “I heard what happened.”

“Holy crap… I’m alive?!” Prussia stared at his future-self in shock. Even Romano and Japan shared shocked looks.

“You did? From who?” Feli blinked, startled.

“Carlos. King of Glendan. Apparently you guys told him about me at some point. He explained what happened, and I came here to find you.” Gilbert explained, taking a seat beside his friend.

“But… why find me?” Feli tilted his head; his voice still sounded so broken and hollow.

“Because you’re my friend, Feli! And you shouldn’t be alone right now. Don’t think I can’t see that knife hiding in your drawer. I know how you feel.”

“How? How could you possibly know how it feels to lose…” Feliciano trailed off as he remembered Holy Rome and Germany were both gone. “Oh…”

“Ja. I’m the only one left, now. And believe you me… I wanted to join them. I tried. But an old friend of ours stopped me, and helped me find myself again.” He looked off into the distance, a fond smile on his face. “So now, I’m here to give you the same courtesy.”

“You can’t stay, can you?” Feli suddenly asked, causing Gilbert to wince.

“Well… No. I can’t… You see, I got hurt pretty badly in the Initial Blast, too… By all accounts, I should’ve died. I think I did die, actually, but somehow I became an Electronic Spirit. I suppose I was just too Awesome to die.”

“You what?!” England spluttered, looking at their Prussia.

“Hey! Don’t look at me! This is new to me, too!” Said nation held up his hands in self-defense.

“Is that even possible?!” Feliciano blinked rapidly, his voice finally showing some warmth.

“I suppose so. I mean, I’m here, aren’t I? Und as a spirit, you know I can’t leave my Regios for too long. But you listen here! And listen good!” He poked Feli in the chest. “You are not alone! You hear me?! A ton of us are rooting for you! And I know you can save this world. Take it from a fellow spirit. That rumor about the Time Fairy? It’s real! I don’t know where it is, but I know it’s out there! We spirits just know this stuff. So don’t look so glum, ja? You have the opportunity to fix this!”

“I-it’s really out there!?” Feliciano jumped to his feet, looking more alive than ever.

“I promise! And you can prevent all of this! But I’m not entirely sure if that power alone will be enough.” Gilbert noticed Feliciano start to deflate. “Hey, listen! That doesn’t mean you can’t combine stuff, right? Like Magick! I’m talking the old stuff, like when England was a kid, old.”

“HEY!” England looked offended. “I’m not—”

“Yeah you are.” America deadpanned.

“Well that was rude!” China huffed.

“Indeed, it was.” England agreed. He didn’t mind it quite so much when he saw both Italy and Canada chuckle.

“But how am I supposed to learn that?” Feli scrunched up his nose. “I doubt you want me trying to make this stuff up…”

“Gott, no!” Gilbert looked equally horrified at the thought. “We don’t need any explosions, thanks. No, I mean find England.”

“But he was killed, wasn’t he? I mean, we found the ruins of Oweyr.”

“He’s alive. That guy’s tough as nails. Trust me. A little insect infestation isn’t going to kill him off. It’s a gut feeling, so I’ve gotta trust it. You’ve gotta trust it. Bitte… For all of us. You’re our only hope. Mine, and my bruder… Little Ludwig…” His eyes misted over for a moment before he shook his head violently. “Anyways, start by searching through Oweyr.”

“Oweyr?! But it’s probably not even rubble by now! It’s probably dust! It’s been thousands of years!” Feliciano protested.

“I think you might be surprised. Magic can preserve stuff pretty well. Even if it’s old. Just give it a try. Unless you have a better lead?” Feliciano sheepishly shook his head. “Didn’t think so. So my idea it is.”

Gilbert gasped as if in pain, and winced. “Are you okay?!” Feli asked in concern.

“J-ja. Don’t worry about me. I’m just about out of time. I need to head back. My Regios is moving farther away from Upwhur, so it’s trying to pull me back. It’s a pain, but I’m alive, so that’s really what counts, right?” He winked at Feli before he stood to leave.

“Wait!” Feliciano cried out, looking frightened. “Please don’t leave…”

“Hey, now. Don’t be sad. I’m just going away for a little bit. You have a job to do, though. Find Iggy-brows.” He smirked. “And never forget. I AM AWESOME!” He yelled, before smiling softly at Feliciano. “But so are you. I believe in you! So I’ll see you when you finally get that power, and go back in time! Kesesese!”

With that, the Prussian left the lab, leaving behind a somewhat shell-shocked but determined Italian.

“Talk about a Prussia-Ex-Machina…” America muttered to himself.

“Grazie.” Romano said, turning to Prussia.

“You’re welcome. I accept the thanks on behalf of my future self.” He smirked, ducking under Germany’s warning swat.

The memory faded out, only to show a montage of Feliciano traveling in the Roamer across several desolate areas and through many different Regios. Eventually, he came upon the ruins of Oweyr, and just as Gilbert had said, they were still there.

“Wow. I didn’t think it’d still be standing. I thought for sure it’d be completely buried.” Feliciano muttered to himself. He looked like something out of a movie. He wore a torn scarf around his head and neck to protect him from the sun, and had on a worn trench coat along with some very heavy-duty boots. He also wore tinted goggles to protect his eyes from the acidic air.

He smirked. “Nine months of searching.” He walked towards the ruins, which honestly had been partially buried to the point that the city looked like it had been built on the ground rather than an enormous moving platform.

“My city…” England looked around him, despondent. He looked up when France put a hand on his shoulder. “Thanks.” He muttered, before turning back to watch the scene.

“Well… I know Prussia said to come here, but…” Feliciano paused, looking around. “WHERE THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO GO?!” He yelled in frustration before giving an irritated sigh. “Well, I suppose I’ll take a look around. Spent nearly a year looking for this place, so I suppose that I may as well give myself a tour.” He shrugged as he made his way around old crumbling buildings.

After roughly twenty minutes of looking around, Feliciano seemed ready to head back to his Roamer, when his foot caught on a piece of fabric and caused him to trip. “Ow!” He hissed as he looked at his skinned up hand. “Tsk. That’s going to burn.” The injury was already smoking due to the exposure to the air, and Feliciano was quick to pull out a roll of bandages from his backpack and wrap it up. “The hell tripped me?” He backtracked to find the offending material pinned underneath some rubble.

He freed the hazard and held it up, glaring, before recognizing the rather familiar coat. “Isn’t this… England’s?” He took a closer look at the rubble around him, realizing that he was standing in what was once Arthur’s house. “Oh.”

He took a few steps forward, when something crunched under his foot. He looked down to find the smashed remains of the teapot that Arthur had used to serve tea to Feli and Lovi all those centuries ago. A single tear made its way down Feliciano’s face.

“Why? Are we cursed? Why do the Nations always suffer?” He asked the sky. “I swear… Nation’s Luck is truly a curse.”

“Oh, Veneziano…” Romano looked at his brother with sorrow. Why did he have to die? He was such an idiot.

A dinging noise echoed in the ruins, and Feliciano pulled out what looked like a smart phone. “Yes, Jarvis?” He asked curiously.

“You re-created the cell phone just so you could take Jarvis with you?” Romano asked, surprised.

“Si. I was very lonely, and even an AI was some kind of company.” Italy shrugged, ignoring the pitying looks of the nations.

“Sir, I merely wish to remind you that you have about forty-five minutes before you hit your limit in this air.”

“Wait, limit? I thought you’d developed some kind of immunity?” America asked, confused. “I mean, you were living there for so long, right? Surely you could last a lot longer than just an hour out there?”

“It’s true.” Japan nodded. “A nation, at this time, could last anywhere from 3-5 hours without any kind of respiratory protection. However, on his trip to the Blast Point Islands, Baka-nii damaged his lungs permanently, and so can only handle half that time.”

It was odd, hearing Japan talk about the future in the same manner as Italy. It took a few minutes for the information to catch up with their brains.

“Wait, permanent damage?!” Germany couldn’t believe it! Nations weren’t supposed to sustain permanent damage from anything! Unless it affected their nation, like China’s back.

“Si. I remember I was so pissed at him for taking so damn long to get through the fucking portal.” Romano huffed and crossed his arms, sending a mild glare to his brother, who simply looked away and started to whistle.

“Si. Thank you, Jarvis. Have you finished the bio-scan?” Feli asked, drawing the nations’ attention once more to the memory.

“Yes, and I’ve come up clean. No life forms, human or otherwise, have been detected.”

Feliciano sighed heavily. “So Prussia was wrong, then.” He kicked a pebble, which bounced off what was once a staircase, creating a hollow thump. He paused. “Didn’t he always used to have a creepy basement for his magic or something?” He wondered aloud. “Jarvis! New scan. Is there an empty space below us?”

“Give me a moment… Yes, sir, there is. But how, may I ask, did you know?”

“Just a feeling…” Feli smirked, as he cleared the floor. He knocked on the ground until he came up with a hollow thump again. “There it is…” He reinforced his fist with Kei before punching a hole through the wooden flooring.

“Holy shit! You’ve been working out!” Prussia cheered, impressed.

“Yes, well, congratulations. You’ve managed to punch a hole in my floor, when the door to the basement was right over there.” England gestured blandly to a half-covered trap door. Italy had the decency to look embarrassed.

“Well, I thought it’d be cooler to punch a hole through the floor.”

“What are you, five?” Japan asked Italy with a raised eyebrow.

“Japaaaan~ You’re supposed to be on my side!” Italy whined.

“Don’t whine! It’s unbecoming.” Romano chastised.

Feli jumped down the hole, taking the watching nations with him.

“It’s so dark, I can’t see anything!” France complained. He, like the others, could only make out a small section of stone floor where a shaft of light fell from above.

“Must’ve been at least a fifteen foot drop. Were you okay?” China asked, worriedly.

“I was fine. A little jarred, but nothing broken.” Italy reassured him.

Feliciano fished out a flashlight from his backpack, illuminating the area around him. It seemed the basement was a very spacious room, with an old spell circle outlined in white chalk on the floor. There were bookcases pushed up against the far wall, and a rather large desk next to it with some books and papers strewn out over it. A mirror stood up against the wall behind him.

All in all, the entire place looked to be untouched. “Wow.” He breathed, looking around. “So much stuff… I have no idea where to begin.” He glanced at a table that looked to be some sort of chemistry station (“That’s a Potion-brewing station!” England had explained) but wisely chose to touch nothing.

He noticed a small podium near the mirror, and approached it, finding an old withered handwritten book with many unidentifiable stains.

“My Grimoire!” England exclaimed, horrified that he’d left such an important book behind.

“What’s this? A spell book?” Feliciano carefully picked it up, and flipped through it casually.

“Hey! Who gave you permission to go through my things?!” England shot Italy a glare.

“Well, you weren’t exactly around to stop me. Besides… if you don’t come back for it in…” Italy paused to work out some math. “almost three thousand years, then I consider it fair game.”

“… I suppose that’s fair.” England relented. Had it really been three thousand years since Oweyr was destroyed?

“Ooh~ What interesting spells! Good luck, reinforcement, self-reloading ammo, finding someone, time-travel, color changing clothes, make your own ale—wait, Time-Travel?!” Feliciano quickly flipped back to the proper page.

“Can… oh. It can only increase the power of an already-existing mode of time travel. So, it can’t travel back on its own, but increase the potency of a different spell. Damn.” He pocketed the book anyways.

“But…” He started, looking oddly thoughtful. “That doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a spell somewhere or that time fairy power that will allow me to go back… And this little gem can help me with that.” He flashed a grin before pulling out a chair and piling the desk high with old books and tomes.

“No time like the present~!” He chirped, before coughing somewhat violently.

“Baka! Did you forget?!” Japan admonished Italy, who looked sheepish.

“Sorta… I got excited.”

“Master Vargas! If you insist on reading these books, then bring them back with you, your time is nearly up!” Jarvis informed Feliciano, who’d finally caught his breath.

“R-right.” He took a long gulp from his canteen before throwing the books into a nearby duffle bag and—using the stairs this time—taking it back to the Roamer.

The nations got several flashes of Feliciano studying the magical literature tirelessly, going through coffee like the trio had when making Hero’s Freedom.

“Dude. That amount of coffee can’t be healthy.” America muttered.

“Like you’re one to talk.” Canada huffed. Seriously, his brother went through more coffee than a Starbucks store!

“Yeah, but I’m a nation! He’s practically human here! Can his system even handle that much caffeine?”

“He does make a good point, surprisingly enough.” France muttered.

“We never really thought about it.” Romano shrugged. If it hadn’t killed them in the future, then it was probably fine. Probably.

Feliciano’s notebook looked rather ragged by the time he’d finished going through the books (which involved several more trips to Oweyr to grab more). “UGH! I’ve found a ton of useful spells, but I can’t use anything to go back as far as I need to! Beyond that, the longer I wait, the harder it’s going to be to get to the time I need to go back to!” He tore at his hair in frustration.

“Feliciano! There’s no need to pull out your hair!” Upwhur lectured. “Keep your chin up! There’s still hope! I’ve heard of some new Regios moving around in the southeast. Perhaps there is something of value there?”

“New Regios?” He perked up at that.

“By the way, when are we?” England asked, curious.

“Oh, sorry~! I spent quite a while studying your books. They were fascinating! It’s about 3682 TF.”

“You spent over a hundred and fifty years pouring over my books?” England asked, shocked. He was rather touched, however, that Italy had taken that sort of time to look though his things.

“Yeah. I had to practice, too. Unfortunately, my magic wasn’t that strong, so only supportive spells really had any effect. Like I explained earlier, magic and kei don’t exactly play well together. Though I made some good explosions.” Italy smirked when a couple of nations backed away.

The scene changed again, this time showing Feliciano visiting several different Regios, before the memory finally slowed down to a tolerable speed.

“Oh. I recognize this. Quite a time-jump, again. This is 4900 TF. To recap, I basically just searched for the time fairy for about another thousand or so years.” Italy shrugged.

“Another… thousand?” Romano echoed, feeling an odd twinge in his heart. His brother spent over a thousand years alone.

“I wasn’t completely alone, either.” Italy said, seeing the look on his brother’s face. Even Japan looked guilty. “I visited Prussia several times~!”

Feliciano was, once again, exploring the Core of an unfamiliar Regios. In fact, it didn’t look to be an active Regios, but one that had long ago fallen into ruin.

“Hello? Is there anyone here?” Feli called out, his voice echoing in the empty room. He paused a moment, listening for any sign of life. Feliciano gave a heavy sigh.

“Maybe they were right? Maybe I am chasing a fool’s dream.” He kicked a pebble. “Kiku? Fratello? Are you watching over me? I miss you two so much. I wish we could all just… go home.” A tear fell from his face. His broken voice tugged at the nations’ heartstrings painfully.

“Hello? Is someone there?” A faint raspy old voice sounded, making Feliciano jump.

“S-si! My name is Feliciano Vargas. I have come in search of the Electronic Fairy of Time.” He peered around, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. “Are you a Fairy?”

From under some rubble, a withered old hand reached out, scaring the shit out of the poor Italian. “I’m afraid I don’t know of any fairies, but this old man could use a hand. I’m afraid I’m stuck.”

“Oh! I’m so sorry!” Feliciano quickly jumped into action, lifting up the rubble and debris, freeing the man.

“Thank you, stranger.” The man had a long white beard, with wispy white hairs atop his balding head. He had a kind face, but he looked half starved. All skin and bones.

“You look awful! How long were you trapped there?” Feliciano asked, concerned.

“Hmm, just a day or so, I think. I’m an explorer, you see! Exploring Ancient Regios and ruins are my passion, and I’ve spent the last 40 years doing it!” He grinned, showing several missing teeth.

“I see. I suppose you could call me a traveler, then. Are you hungry? I brought some food.” Feliciano held out a lunch basket.

“Oh, I couldn’t.”

“Please? I insist. I packed too much to eat all by myself.” The two sat in comfortable silence, sharing the sandwiches and hot tea.

“So what brought you here?” Feli asked, curious.

“Ah, well this was supposedly one of the Ancient First Regios. Way, way back, almost four thousand years ago! They say that back then, before the Regios, people didn’t need moving cities because the Contaminoids didn’t exist! Could you imagine? A world without the Contaminoids? Well, I’ve dedicated my life to finding the truth of why our world is like this. Perhaps, some day… We can cure this dying world. And I believe the answer lays in the distant past.” He grinned. His bright green eyes glowed with excitement as he spoke.

“That’s incredible!” Feliciano grinned, too. His energy was infectious. “You’re right, you know.” The old man quirked an eyebrow. “Once… a very long time ago, there weren’t moving cities or Domes or anything. The sky was open to the world and people moved about as freely as birds. People lived everywhere, and there were billions of humans all over the globe.” The man’s eyes were wide with awe. He looked like a child. “My family kept records from back then.” Feliciano lied. “It’s like I lived there. I’m honestly sick of this monochrome world. I want… So badly… to prevent this whole catastrophe.” He hung his head, staring into his tea intensely.

“Why? Why would you want to make this time cease to exist?”

“What do you mean, why? Because it’s terrible! Everybody’s living in fear, and people die every day! It was so much better, back then…”

“In your opinion. But have you ever asked what the other people think? This is their home. Maybe they’re okay with the way things are, now. Time isn’t meant to move backwards.”

“But I can feel it… it’s wrong. This wasn’t meant to happen.” His eyes narrowed, as if realizing something.

“How do you mean?” The man looked intrigued.

“I went to the Blast Point Islands a while back… I found ruins there of the old City called New York…”

Feliciano thought it was strange that they’d survived so many thousands of years. No matter how resilient human buildings were, there’s no realistic way for so much to remain unscathed. But at the time, he’d been trying to stay alive… He didn’t stop to really look. But… “The buildings were all still there… Some of them even still had glass in the windows. And cars were still parked on the streets. Toppled over, but still there. Something isn’t right. They shouldn’t have been able to survive like that. I swear even some of the wooden structures remained, which should’ve been impossible!” He was speaking more to himself, now, than the man, but he didn’t seem to mind.

“Now that I’m really thinking about it…” The scene flashed for a moment, showing the ruins of New York City as Feliciano remembered them. “There was someone there…” There was a shadow standing on a street, looking up at Feliciano in surprise before ducking back into a building. “There’s no way someone would be able to survive that kind of acidity in the air… Unless… Perhaps… they were using magic? I remember a spell that could remove acidic components in substances, including gaseous ones… It’s possible… But I’ll need to go back to be sure…”

“Well, since you seem to have a plan now, when do we leave?” The man grinned.

“Wh-what?! Since when are you coming with me?!” Feli nearly fell over with surprise.

“Do you really think I’d miss out on the chance to explore the Ruins of the Blast Point Islands?! Not a chance!” He grinned and stood up.

“But you’re—”

“A fragile old man? Bah! Don’t insult me! I grew up on Glendan, you know! I can take down Contaminoids just as well as a young-un like you!”

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly call myself young…” Feli muttered. “Fine. If you want to come, that’s your choice. I’m not going to stop you. Just keep up, okay?”

“Yes, Captain!” The man mock-saluted, and for a moment, the nations saw a younger ghost-like image of Feliciano beside the man, saluting with his left hand.

“Yes, Captain!” He echoed, saluting a ghostly image of Germany.

Feliciano shook his head, dispelling the old memory.

Germany’s heart clenched at the sight. Come to think of it, when was the last time Italy had called him Captain? Not since the wars…

“Seriously? I’m not your captain.” Feli deadpanned, turning away to hide his grimace.

“Well, what should I call you then? I don’t believe we introduced ourselves.”

I did. It’s not my fault you weren’t listening.” Feli started walking away. “Call me Italy.” He stiffened a moment, realizing his slip-up.

“Italy? Okay, then.” The man grinned. “Call me Briggs.”

“That reminds me of Fullmetal Alchemist…” Japan muttered under his breath.

“All right, then, Briggs; follow me. Did you bring your own Roamer?” Feli asked, leading the way out of the Core.

“No. I just walked here.”

“What?” Romano was sure he’d heard that wrong.

“You… walked… here?” Feliciano turned to give Briggs a bewildered stare.

“Yup. When you get to be my age, you become very hardy.” He grinned cheekily at Feli, much to the former nation’s ire.

“I’m older than you, Briggs.” Feli growled out, but the man didn’t seem to hear him as he continued on his merry way towards the Roamer.

“Aren’t you coming?” Briggs asked, laughing as the golden-eyed man steamed after him.

“He really got under your skin, huh?” Romano raised an impressed eyebrow. He’d never really known anyone to be able to get under his brother’s skin so easily before.

“Over that past millennia, I’d realized that I’d become… err… a bit of a hothead, for lack of a better term.”

You? A hothead?!” Japan gasped dramatically, raising a single brow. Italy rolled his eyes.

“Shut up, Kiku.” He playfully shoved the smaller nation.

The scene changed again, showing the two in an unfamiliar Lab, much smaller than the one on Upwhur.

“Where are we?” Russia asked, startling the group. Everyone had been so quiet lately, sans the Future Trio.

“Oh, this is our old lab back on Glendan. We used this one for our non-Regios and substantially smaller-scaled inventions.” Romano explained.

“I moved the teleportation portals here.” Italy answered his brother’s unasked question.

“Wow! So you really invented a working teleportation device?!” Briggs marveled at the Portal Gate.

“Well, I did it with my two brothers.” Feli answered quietly. Briggs didn’t seem to notice his change in tone, however.

“Brothers? Are they here?” He asked, too into his own explorations to notice Feliciano’s sudden somber mood.

“No. They died… a long time ago.” Feliciano’s bangs shadowed his eyes, making his expression unreadable.

“Oh.” Briggs became suddenly quiet. “I’m sorry for your loss. Family is always hard to lose.”

“Si. They are. And I’ve nearly lost all of mine.” A few quick flashes of Gilbert, Ivan, Natalya, and a shadowed Arthur briefly showed the nations who he was thinking about.

“Why am I shadowed?” England asked, slightly offended.

“Probably because he doesn’t know if you’re alive or not. The others, to the best of our knowledge, are alive. But you’re a mystery.” France explained gently in a hushed tone, so as not to disturb the mood of the scene.

“Ah. Very true. Thank you, Fro-France.” He looked away, willing the red tint to his cheeks to die away. He was not embarrassed, thank you very much! It was just hot outside.

“So that is why you desire the power of that rumored Time Fairy?” Briggs asked as delicately as he could.

“Partially. I mean… they didn’t deserve to die. More than that… All those millions… billions of innocent people didn’t deserve to die. But I’m sensing something amiss. That’s why we’re going to the Isles again. Something doesn’t sit right with me.” He fiddled with the Gate, tweaking some of the wiring and settings. “Luckily, last time we were there, I set up another Gate. So long as the main system isn’t damaged, I should be able to open a portal to the Isles again. Once on the other side, I’ll be able to repair any damage as needed to get us back.”

“Glad to have you as my ally.” Briggs sighed in relief.

“You should be. I’m a very terrifying enemy.”

A few hours sped by in the span of minutes, showing the two driving the Roamer—modified with even stronger purification abilities—through the Gate and back to the Ruins of New York City.

This time, however, some kind of storm must’ve blown through. Or perhaps Lovino had taken more soil than they’d first thought, because a great portion of the once-buried city was now at ground level, including the Portal Gate.

“Woah! Oh, wow! So this is an ancient city!” Briggs was glued to the window of the Roamer as Feli drove. The buildings, even in rubble, towered high above them. They were covered in sand and crumbling, though posters still clung to brick walls like snow. Which, speaking of snow, a thick white blanket covered the entire landscape.

“Wow! Is this snow? I’ve heard of Regios like Umevokin and Iceur having it, but I’ve never seen it myself. At least, not like this.” Briggs stared in awe at the scenery. One could almost imagine people tucked away in their homes, hiding from the frigid cold.

“It’s almost like home.” America said softly. “But it’s so empty. To think this is the City that Never Sleeps.”

Feli parked the Roamer, and put on the necessary gear. Though this time, he left his face uncovered. “Let’s see if my theory works.” He muttered a few words in Latin, and a glow covered his face for a moment.

He repeated the process for Briggs, before opening the door. He took a deep breath. “Perfect! No burning sensation at all! It smells like snow!” He grinned.

“Thanks, Italy!” Briggs smiled, as he jumped out and picked up a handful of snow. “COLD!” He quickly dropped it.

“Yes. It’s snow. That’s frozen water.” Feliciano said slowly, like he was speaking to a child. Briggs huffed, but continued to poke at the snow in wonder.

Feliciano caught sight of movement out of the corner of his eye, and quickly ran off to chase it.

“Wait! Where are you going?!” Briggs demanded, trying to catch up.

“I’m going to find answers!”

“What should I do?!”

“Whatever you want, just don’t steal my Roamer!” Feli called back without stopping. He turned several corners, and gave chase down six alleyways before he finally tackled the person to the ground. “Gotcha!” He smirked, looking down at the blond man he’d been pursuing.

“Bloody hell, gerroff me!” A familiar voice said in a thick British accent.

“No way… Arthur?!” Feliciano numbly stood up.

“Who the bloody hell are—” He stopped, looking at Feliciano in the eyes. “Feliciano?! The bloody hell are you doing here?!”

“I could ask you the same question.” He looked at Arthur, taking in his rugged appearance. He had a bit of scruff on his chin, and his hair was long, tied back into a low ponytail. His eyebrows were bushy as ever, and his green eyes glowed with suppressed magic.

“Touché. However, this isn’t the place to speak. It isn’t safe, here. You’re lucky you ran into me and not them.” Arthur spoke in a hushed tone.

“Where’s your brother?” Feliciano flinched.

“Not here. I do have someone with me, though. An old man named Briggs.”

“Then let’s find him, and I’ll show you a safe place we can speak. We’ve a lot of catching up to do, I’m afraid.” He sighed as he and Feliciano tracked down Briggs and Arthur led the two of them to an old pub, which was buried under the remains of a once tall skyscraper. Somehow, most of the building was intact. He sat them down in a makeshift sitting room. There were a few comfy chairs, and a fire pit in the middle of the room. A bed was set up in a corner of the room. The tables had been long since moved out of the way, and the faded red carpet looked more of a brownish color.

“Nice place.” Feli said. And really, all things considered, it was fairly nice.

“Thank you. The kitchen in the back still works, too, and—did you know—if you magically purify Contaminoid meat, it’s edible? It’s actually not bad. Tastes somewhat like beef or venison. Sort of a blend between the two.”

“I’m Briggs, nice to make your acquaintance.” The elderly man held out his hand in greeting.

“Arthur Kirkland. I’m an old friend of Feli’s.” He smiled pleasantly as he shook Briggs’ hand.

“So, Arthur. Mind explaining what you meant earlier? Who are they?” Feli asked, curious.

“I’m afraid that requires a bit of an explanation. You see, after Oweyr was destroyed, I wandered around as a sort of nomad for a while. My magic can act as a filter for even the strongest of acidities, so the air was no issue. Ironically enough, my lack of kei and high magic levels are what’s saved me all these years. It was only about two or three thousand years ago, that I came to the Isles in hopes of finding something of Alfred’s. I just felt drawn here.” Arthur explained, ignoring Briggs’ shocked expression. Feliciano nodded his head.

“I did, too. That’s why Fratello and I… built a Regios for him using this soil.”

“I see. Thank you. For honoring my fallen son.” Arthur gave Feliciano a soft smile. “At any rate, I came to realize not long after coming here, that something was amiss. And I was right. Someone else was here, too. Some kind of organization. Though I’m not sure what their goal is. I’ve found out a few things regarding their past behavior, though.” His eyes darkened, becoming a deep midnight forest green. They shone with unadulterated fury and hatred. The nations watching flinched back. Even during his pirate days, his eyes had never looked like that.

“What is it?” Feliciano asked timidly. He was somewhat scared of what Arthur would say.

“I found a journal kept by some of the decedents of the original Order. Though the reasons behind the actions were lost to time…” He took a deep breath, his fists shaking in fury. “They murdered him. They caused this entire fiasco. Those- those—! They set off the Nuclear reactors nearly five thousand years ago. They purposefully caused the apocalypse.” He growled out, jumping to his feet in anger. “THEY MURDERED MY SON! I’m going to make them pay!” He paced furiously, trying to find some sort of outlet for his emotions.

Feliciano sat in shock, an equal look of fury bled into his features, as his bangs shadowed his eyes. The nations watching were beyond angry.

“This was planned?! Someone wanted this to happen?!” France shrieked, hand on his blade.

“How could anyone want this?!” Canada cried out. Why would someone attack his brother like that?

“Believe me, they knew what this would cause. Like I said, the person who wrote the journal I found didn’t know why the Original Order wanted it, but they meant to set off all the power plants. Every last one. This end result is exactly what they wanted to happen. Perhaps in the name of some twisted ‘God’, or simply because they ‘could’. I’ll never know. And I don’t believe I really want to. I just…”

Tears made their way down Arthur’s face, as anger gave way to grief. He sank down into his chair heavily. His shoulders shook with suppressed sobs. “I just want my family back. Francis… Alfred… Matthew… They shouldn’t have had to die… I wish… At the very least… I could tell them goodbye, and let them know how much each and every one of them meant to me.”

Feliciano wrapped Arthur in a hug. “Me, too. Kiku and Fratello are up there with them, now.” He said in a wistful tone.

“Y-you mean your brother is…?” Arthur was so shocked by the news, that he stopped sobbing.

“They’re dead. Almost a millennia ago.” Tears ran down Feliciano’s face, shining in the firelight.

“I’m so sorry for your loss.” Arthur hugged Feliciano back, and the two sobbed together.

A few nations noticed that Briggs had a small book in his hands, trying his best not to intrude on the obviously personal moment. He seemed mildly interested in what he was reading, at first. But after he was partway through it, he gasped in shock and started trembling. “How could they?!” He cried out in anger.

“What’s wrong?” Feliciano asked, turning away from Arthur for the moment, who now seemed much calmer.

“Hey, that’s the journal I found!” Arthur sent Briggs a miffed look. “I don’t believe I gave you permission to go through my things.”

“That doesn’t matter, now. Do you recognize this!?” He pointed to a drawing on one of the pages. It looked like runes of some kind, but they were drawn in a circular shape, rather than linear.

“I never did figure that out. It isn’t in any language I recognize.” Arthur admitted.

“It’s a spell! A time spell! It says here that his great-great grandfather, a key member of the Original Order, had this tattooed on him. I’ve seen it once before.” His green eyes shone as he looked up at the two once-nations gravely. “It’s a one-way ticket back in time. Likely, this organization was from the future, and went back in time to change something. What it was, I don’t know. But they really knew what they were doing. That array, tattooed on somebody’s body is a brand that marks them as an enemy of Time. That they broke the sacred flow and altered what ought not to be altered!” He seemed to grow more and more furious as he spoke.

“So wait! Those people came from this time, or some sort of time deviation thereof, and went back to 20-something AD to cause the apocalypse?!” Upon receiving a confirming nod, Arthur was thrown into a tizzy once more.

“I knew something felt off! This really wasn’t supposed to happen…” Feliciano’s shoulders sagged. Both he and Arthur sat there, half-defeated, half-relieved.

Briggs sighed. “I suppose, having this brought to light… Perhaps you should fix this mess.” He looked at Feliciano.

“Huh? What’re you talking about?” He tilted his head.

“You wanted to go back in time and prevent this entire future, didn’t you?” He raised an eyebrow.

“Of course I do!” Feli bit back, still angry from the turmoil of the night. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to snap. It’s been a long day.”

“Understandable. Now, messing with time is a very dangerous thing. I wasn’t going to let you do it. Time is not meant to be altered. However! Somebody has already broken the flow of time. If you promise to kill them, to take out those people who are Branded, then Time will forgive you and allow you to remain uncursed.”

“Un…cursed?” Arthur furrowed his eyebrows.

“Yes. Those who’ve been Branded are forever cursed, as are their descendants. Everything they taste turns to ash in their mouths. They cannot sleep. They cannot dream. They live three times what their lifespan would have been, but they age rapidly, and are stuck in a body that is frail and old. Their muscles will not obey them, and in some cases, their eyes will fall out of their heads. All this happens over the course of the first six years. Time takes their Life Force as punishment, leaving behind a shell with just enough soul to still be them. To suffer.” He paused, letting the words sink in. “If they ever have children after they are Branded, then those children will also be cursed to be alone. They will always lose their precious people, and they will never know peace. They will only know battle and war and bloodshed.”

“How terrible…” France shuddered.

“Wait! Italy, aru! Are you…?!” China looked at Italy with sudden alarm.

“NO! No, I’m not a Cursed One. Don’t worry. Time allowed me to come back here… to fix the timeline and bring it back to where it was supposed to go.” Italy quickly reassured the nations.

“How do you know all this?” Arthur asked, leveling Briggs with a stare.

“All right. You caught me.” He smirked, and suddenly, he started to shrink. His wrinkles smoothed out and age spots vanished. Before them stood a rather handsome white-haired twenty-something year old man with bright fir tree green eyes that sparkled with mischief. “I am the Electronic Fairy of Time. I’m the one you’ve been searching for.” He grinned. “Tempus. Nice to officially meet you, Feliciano Vargas.”

Feliciano stared in shock. “I… so you are real…? But what about your… Your Regios?” He asked, startled.

“Ah, that’s the odd thing. I’ve never had one.” He smirked, twirling his top hat on his finger.

“Wait, when did he change clothes?!” Prussia blurted out suddenly, gesturing to his magician’s suit, silver-capped cane and top hat.

“DUDE, you’re right!” America rubbed his eyes.

“Tempus, was it?” Tempus nodded, and Arthur continued. “Why suddenly reveal yourself?”

“Because! You, Feliciano Vargas, Personification of Northern Italy, will become my Champion! My Warrior of Time!” He proclaimed grandly, swinging his cane in a wide arc.

“What?” Feliciano blinked, lost.

“I’m going to give you my power. You will go back in time, and kill those bastards who fucked up my domain.” He explained, taking his seat again.

“I thought you just said messing with time would get me cursed?!” Feliciano cried out, frustrated.

“I said messing up time will get you cursed. But I’ll be sending you back with the intention of fixing time. They’re the ones who fucked shit up. Now you’ve gotta fix it. You won’t be cursed just for fixing what they screwed up. In fact, you’ll be rewarded!”

“I will?” He looked like he didn’t believe a word that came out of Tempus’ mouth.

“Yes. You’ll not only be allowed to keep your memories and stay in that time, but if you tell anyone about the future, you won’t be punished. Essentially, any time-travel no-no’s will be excused in your case. Plus, I’ll make sure to train you up so you can use your powers wisely. AND I’ll let you keep a small portion of those powers and use them as you see fit. Within reason, of course.”

“DUDE THAT’S SO AWESOME!! YOU CAN CONTROL TIME?!” America was practically vibrating with excitement, and Prussia wasn’t too far off.

“Sort of. I can more slow down or speed up time. Just slightly. So say a glass of water is falling off the table; I’ll be able to slow it down so it takes a full minute to hit the ground, giving me enough time to grab the glass and scoop all the water out of the air. I could also use it to dodge a bullet. As for speeding up… Say I throw a knife...”

“Enough said.” Canada shivered. He’d met Italy’s 2P once.

“So… other than me fixing this mess for you, what’s the catch?” Feliciano asked suddenly, making Tempus pause.

“Too observant, huh?” He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, his snowy white locks falling into his eyes. “I can only send you back so far. You said you needed to go back four thousand years, right?”

“Actually, it would have to be nearly five thousand. 0 TF would equate to the start of this entire fiasco, so we’d need to go back at least a few months before that, if not a year or two.” Arthur sighed.

“Would you like to go, too, Arthur?” Tempus suddenly asked.

“Wh-what?! Me? You would let me go?” Arthur looked shocked, but overjoyed.

“Sure would. It’d be useful for Italy to have someone who knows magic like you around. Plus, you’d be able to help him find this group since you’ve been studying them for many years.”

“Absolutely!” He jumped at the chance. “Then maybe… I could see them again.” His emerald eyes sparkled with long-extinguished hope.

“Hold on a moment… If I was supposed to come with you… then…” England looked at Italy with dawning horror. “Oh, no. I died, didn’t I?”

“I’m honestly not sure.” Italy looked at England with sadness. “Last I saw you, you were fighting off a very large number of Contaminoids. You bought me the time I needed to make the Jump. But you were unable to come with me.” Italy sighed.

“I see. I’m sorry, then. But I’m glad you made it back here, okay.”

“Oh! That reminds me!” Tempus said suddenly, pulling out two small brightly wrapped boxes and handing them to Arthur and Feliciano.

“What is this?” Arthur asked, eyeing the package suspiciously.

“I’ve done a lot of research on your old customs. If my calculations are correct, then… Merry Christmas!” He grinned, using a spell to place a brightly lit Christmas Tree in the corner of the room.

“It’s… Oh… I haven’t celebrated that in a long time.” Feliciano blinked.

“You know, not everyone from our time celebrated Christmas? Some celebrated Kwanzaa or Yule or Hanukkah.” Arthur raised an eyebrow in challenge.

“Kwanzaa? What’s that?” Tempus tilted his head.

“Never mind. At any rate, I do happen to celebrate Christmas, so good guess. I imagine it would’ve been rather awkward if you pulled out a menorah.” Arthur chuckled, accepting the gift.

“I’m sorry! I don’t have a gift for you!” Feli pouted.

“Don’t worry about it! I don’t even know what you’re supposed to get someone for this holiday. I just know you give a gift.” Tempus laughed, “Go on!”

Feliciano and Arthur unwrapped their gifts at the same time. An aged white light shone from the box, reminding the nations of old parchment. The light lifted up, and hit both of them in the chest, stunning them for a moment.

“I give you the gift of time. This power will allow you both to travel back to where you need to be.” Tempus grinned. “And see your loved ones again.” The rim of his top hat covered his eyes for a moment as he grinned.

“So… we have power over time, now?” Feli looked at his hands in awe and wonder.

“Yup. Pretty much. But don’t try to use it yet, because you could accidentally cause an implosion in the space-time continuum, and make all of us cease to exist.” He grinned innocently.

“Holy fucking crap, that’s a lot of power!” Romano paled a bit.

“Yeah, it was pretty difficult to control.” Italy admitted.

“So will we stay at this power setting forever?” Feliciano asked warily.

“Oh, Fates, no! No, this huge reservoir is only for the Initial Jump.” Tempus patted the two on the shoulder as they let out sighs of relief. “You’ll be knocked down to probably one thirtieth of that power once you arrive. That’s what you’ll stay at.”

“That is a lot of power.” Russia observed.

“No kidding.” England paled a bit. How did his future self handle that kind of magical power spike?!

“We can hash out the details tomorrow. For now, let’s enjoy our Christmas. I don’t know about you, Arthur, but I haven’t had one since… Dio, I think the last one we celebrated was back in 1000 TF sometime.” Feliciano shrugged.

“Same here. It’s nice… Like old times.” Arthur smiled, and held up a cup of tea. “Cheers. To a wonderful Christmas…”

“And a happy New Year!” Feliciano cheered, clinking cups with Arthur.

The scene gently faded out, leaving the nations feeling warm and fuzzy.

 

 

 

 

A/N: Surprise!! :D I’ve updated again~! Are you happy? Not sure if I’ve ever updated twice in one month before. First time for everything, I suppose. So Feli’s FINALLY found the Electronic Time Fairy, who’s actually not electronic. Not only that, but Arthur’s alive~! ^_^ For now… >:D Will he survive? (Is it bad that even I don’t know the answer to that one?)

 

Let me know what you think~! Fanfiction.net and AO3 people~! Please comment! I love reading reviews!

 

Wattpad people! Also please comment, I love reading your reviews as well and seeing your reactions to specific parts of my story! But please try not to start another 13.2K comment thread. I do get spammed for each comment (so know that I do read them all!).

 

Thank you all for reading, and look forward to the next update! (Also, if you read the A/N on the last chapter, I may not end up going into the military after all, so rejoice! The updates will continue!!)

 

Words: 7,968/8,010

Pages: 16

Posted 12/17/2018

Edited: 04/18/2019

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: Alba

The next day saw the nations in high spirits, joking and laughing about, still riding off the high from the previous night’s memory. They had a hearty breakfast before settling down to talk amongst themselves. America and Canada were chatting about the latest videogames released in their homes while France and Russia, surprisingly enough, were comparing recipes from home. China was in the middle of a fierce debate about something with Germany, Prussia was goofing around with Spain, Japan and England were comparing tea, and Italy and Romano were sitting back with a cup of coffee watching the entire scene unfold.

“This is nice.” Italy smiled, taking a sip of his drink. Romano sighed contentedly as well, settling into his chair a little more.

“Yeah. It is. I missed this. I missed them.” He also took a swallow of his coffee.

“I did, too. Man, I was so surprised when I first came back. I woke up in Germany’s room, you see. So it was quite the shock.”

“Oh? Wait... what were you doing in the Potato Bastard’s room?” Romano’s eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“Uh… n-nothing… His house just gets really cold, and he’s a furnace! So…”

“You don’t get cold like that. Don’t lie!”

“Fratello! C-can we not talk about this right now?” Italy practically begged his brother. “We’re just friends! It isn’t like that.”

“Uh, huh.” He didn’t believe his brother for a moment.

“I still have the picture of you cuddled up to Spain. I could give it to him, you know.” Italy smirked wickedly, watching as his brother’s eyes widened in horror.

“Y-you still have that?! Feli! Please!” He begged, “Whatever you do, don’t give it to the Tomato Bastard! I swear, I’ll never hear the end of it!”

“Then don’t bring up the little detail that I sometimes sneak into Germany’s bed.” Italy knew he had his brother. There was no way he’d want that picture getting out.

“F-fine. Fucking bastard. Blackmailing your brother. I taught you too well.” He huffed and crossed his arms, sticking out his tongue at his little brother.

“Oh, that’s mature.”

“I never claimed to be mature, just more mature than you.” He smirked, green eyes sparkling with mischief.

“I know that look. Who’re we gonna prank?” Italy’s golden eyes also gained a spark of mischief.

“How about… Prussia?” Romano said after a moment of thinking.

“Prank the prankster? I like it. Mr. Austria would be proud.”

“You’re too old to call him ‘Mr. Austria’, especially now.” Romano reminded him.

“I know, I know. But old habits have the tendency to crop back up on you sometimes.”

The prank ended up being a classic ice-cold water balloon over the head. Only this time, they mixed fine particles of glitter in with the water. The end result was a soaked, shivering, sparkly Prussia, and a laughter-filled room.

“ITAAAALY!” Prussia cried. “You aren’t supposed to prank me!” He spluttered, looking at the two.

“Oi! I helped prank you, too, Bastard!” Romano growled. Sometimes he got really tired of how everyone only noticed his brother.

“I know! That’s why I said ‘Italy’ instead of ‘Ita’.” Prussia pointed to Veneziano Italy. “He’s Ita.” Then he pointed to Romano Italy. “And you’re Romano. But you’re both Italy, so the full name is the two of you combined.” He crossed his arms with a triumphant smile, which was ruined by his sudden sneezing.

Romano blushed furiously. He wasn’t used to people remembering that he was Italy, too. And to be honest, his people were much friendlier than his brother’s. He wondered briefly if their personalities got swapped somehow.

“Perhaps you should change out of that, bruder?” Germany suggested, hiding his amusement. It wasn’t often that he got to see his older brother get pranked, and he was enjoying every second of it.

“Ja, ja.” Prussia left the room, returning about ten minutes later. Now that he was in fresh, dry clothes, and looked to have taken a quick shower, he seemed much more comfortable. Though glitter still clung to him like, well, glitter.

The room around them shimmered, taking the nations to another memory. “Again? Well, it was nice while it lasted.” Prussia sighed. He was getting tired of these stupid memory things. Couldn’t they get some kind of a break once in awhile?

As the next scene faded in, Feliciano was shown walking around Glendan alone.

“Where am I?” England asked.

“Ah, we’d finished up our basic Time Training, and you were pouring over some research and spells in the lab in Upwhur. For a Jump this big, we needed to combine that time-travel enhancement spell I’d stumbled across earlier with the natural magic of the land. So you needed to locate the most powerful intersection of Ley Lines we could access as quickly as possible.” Italy explained.

“And you were…?” England raised an eyebrow.

“I was waiting for you to find it. In all honesty, I was going to miss Glendan, and thought I’d pay him one last visit before we left.” Italy smiled warmly, even as Feliciano wondered around a significantly rougher part of town. It was nightfall, but the Italian didn’t seem fazed.

Now that the nations had time to really look at him, they noticed several white streaks in his hair, which was long and even when tied back into a ponytail it went to his mid-back. He had a little bit of stubble on his chin, giving him a ruggishly handsome look. His golden eyes seemed deeper and sharper than before, and Feliciano exuded this aura of power and confidence.

“Dude… as a middle-aged adult… you’re badass.” America stared in awe. Was this how people saw the Great Roman Empire? Suddenly, the little pasta-lover’s heritage became obvious.

Even the ruffians in the shadows knew better than to bother this man on his evening stroll.

A sudden loud cry pierced the night, and Feliciano’s brows knit in worry. He dashed around the corner to find a tiny toddler wailing in fear and pain. He had bruises all over him, and looked to be all alone.

Feliciano’s expression melted. “Oh, little bambino…” He scooped up the young child, who quieted in the strong calming presence. “Why would anyone abandon someone as adorable as you?” He asked, as the child looked up at him with piercing blue eyes. His hair was a dark brown color, and something about the child made Feli sigh.

“It’s not like I’ve much else to do, now is there?” He wrapped the child up in his coat, keeping him warm. “Come now, little one. Let’s get you some dinner. You must be starving.”

“You… adopted a child?” Romano blinked as the scene faded out.

“Almost.” Italy sighed. “I almost adopted a child. But I raised him for quite a while.” He smiled as they were treated to a montage of Feliciano visiting the child at the orphanage often, giving him gifts and attention and teaching him how to fight.

He taught him several lost things, such as Latin and Italian, and even the true history of the world.

“Papa Feli?” The boy looked up at him. He appeared to be about six years old, now. “I don’t like my name. Bruce doesn’t fit me. Can I change it?” The child scrunched his nose in distaste.

“Oh? And what would you change it to?” Feliciano challenged, patting his lap so the child could sit.

“I dunno… maybe… uhm… You choose!” He grinned up at the once-nation, who laughed.

“All right, you want me to name you?” Feli thought for a long moment. “Hm… how about Layfon?”

“Lay…fon?”

“Yes. Layfon Alseif.” Feli grinned. “A very strong name for a very strong boy. One day, you’ll become a great man, and you’ll be able to work towards any kind of future you want.”

“Really?? Do you think… I could see the Green world you talk about so much?” The child looked up at Feliciano with hope.

“I…” Feliciano looked heartbroken for a moment. When I go back in time… this child will no longer exist… What am I doing, getting attached to this human boy? “Of course.” He grinned.

“YAY!” The newly christened Layfon cheered, oblivious to the lie his father figure had spoken to him.

The scene faded out, only to show more montages of Feliciano playing with Layfon and the other orphan children. And eventually, Feliciano said goodbye. He left, telling Layfon to remain strong and protect everyone while he was away.

“You left…?” France watched the scene sadly, as Layfon quietly cried as he watched Feliciano leave.

“I had to. I was going to erase this future. What point was there in getting attached or adopting a child that would soon cease to exist?” Italy pointed out coldly.

“I do see your point.” Japan sighed.

The next scene faded in. Feliciano was driving the Roamer, a look of fierce concentration on his face.

“What’s going on?” France asked, concerned for his friend.

“I left Arthur at the lab.” Italy answered. “I’d lost too many friends, I couldn’t lose another. That aside, I’d felt odd kei that was unusually strong coming from this area, and went to investigate.” He pointed to the sky, where part of it was blue, rather than the tainted grayish tan color the nations had grown used to seeing outside the Regios. And above that, was the Aurora that had brought them here.

“The Aurora is a very mysterious thing. I’d been studying it for centuries before I finally found Tempus. All I could tell was that it was a massive concentration of kei energy… perhaps strong enough to transcend time and space.” Italy smiled softly.

“I see… Then perhaps… does the Aurora appear where the ley lines intersect?” England asked.

“That’s exactly what I was going there to find out.” Italy smirked. “But I ended up stumbling across something I hadn’t expected.”

Before the nations could ask what he meant, they saw several enormous Contaminoids that were battling several strong looking individuals. Two Regios were standing on either side of the battlefield, which was surrounded by several Air Purification posts, much like what one would find within the Regios.

“Saya wanted to make this battle easier for them, so she erected these posts to purify the air.” Italy answered. “Those… are the Heaven’s Blades Wielders of Glendan.” He smiled, gesturing to the warriors. “The year is 5000 TF.”

There seemed to be another battle between two people off in another area, but Feliciano continued to head towards the area with the Contaminoids.

“O-oi! Is that Glendan?!” Romano pointed towards the Regios that’d served as his home for millennia.

“Yup.” Italy answered.

“A-and that’s Zuellni! The Academic Regios!” Japan recognized the other one.

“I’ve heard of it, but we never went.” Romano tilted his head, looking at the Regios that was under attack from a flying Contaminoid. It was extremely fast, and he doubted anyone aside from a Heaven’s Blade Wielder could take care of it. Or a nation.

What the humans didn’t see off the bat, as they finished off all the other Contaminoids, was a fifth Elder Contaminoid.

Feliciano noticed, however. The single man who’d defeated the Contaminoid that’d been attacking Zuellni had come over to the other group of Heaven’s Blade Wielders. Nobody but Feliciano had noticed the new threat thus far. Even Glendan began to move away.

Feli huffed, and grabbed his radio. “Glendan! This is Feliciano Vargas, access code 0222!” He called out. “Connect me to the Queen immediately, over.”

“Y-yes sir! Over!” The voice came over the radio.

“Feliciano?” A woman’s voice sounded from the other end. “It’s been a long time. Don’t tell me you’re the idiot driving the Roamer out there all alone?”

“I am. But you need to stop the Regios. There’s another Contaminoid out here. And it seems to have the ability to suppress its Kei… My gut says it’d be safest to keep the Regios—both of them—where they are.”

There was a brief moment of silence as Glendan stopped its retreat, keeping the air purification barrier up. Several of the people looked up in question. “Roger that! Looks like I’ll be counting on you again.”

“Honestly…” Feliciano finally pulled to a stop. “You take far too much after Carlos the First.”

“Do I? He is my great-great-great-great grandfather, or something like that.”

“Don’t remind me how old I am, please.”

“You’re… what, 5,000 years old?”

“… Eight thousand and some change, now, actually.” Feliciano reluctantly answered. The queen whistled appreciatively from the other end. “Shut up. I’m going, now.”

“Take care~”

Feliciano sighed as he exited the Roamer. The Wielders turned towards the newcomer. “Who are you?” One man asked, eyeing him suspiciously.

Feliciano went to open his mouth to reply when the man who’d defended Zuellni finally reached them. “P-Papa Feli?!” The golden-eyed once-nation whirled around in shock to find a well-built handsome young man. His brown hair stuck up at odd angles, giving him a messy appearance, but his bright blue eyes were sharp and wide with disbelief.

“Layfon.” Feli smiled softly. “You’ve grown.”

“I… It is you…”

“Hm? What’s this? You know him?” One of the other warriors asked.

“I’m afraid now’s not the time for a reunion, though.” Feli smirked, turning his attention in the direction of the Aurora. “I didn’t order the Queen to stop Glendan’s retreat for no reason, after all.”

“Wait, you ordered the queen?! Just who the hell are you?!” Someone else asked.

“I’m Feliciano Vargas. Guardian of Glendan.” He smirked, holding up the Badge that the Royal family had given him and his brother all those millennia ago. The group froze, staring at it in shock.

“Th-that makes you…” Layfon stuttered.

“I’m older than you think.” Feli chuckled. “But at any rate, we’ve got company.”

“Right.” Layfon activated his Heaven’s Blade.

“Oh? So you were one of those chosen to wield that blade?” Feli grinned and ruffled his hair.

“H-Hey!” Layfon flushed.

“I’m sure it’ll serve you well.”

“It’s temporary. It’ll stay with Glendan after this battle is finished.” One of the Warriors spoke up.

“No.” Feliciano answered, a steel in his voice. “It’ll stay with its wielder. Layfon will keep the Heaven’s Blade. If Saya has chosen him, then it will stay with him. After all.” Feliciano pulled out his Celestial Blade. “I didn’t help create those Heaven’s Blades you all wield so proudly to simply sit and collect dust. Have you any idea how long it took us to create those?” He huffed, even as the group blinked at him in shock.

“You… made these?” A woman asked, eyes wide.

“Myself and my two brothers.” Feli answered. “Restoration, 0-2!” He cried out, as his Dite activated, separating into the two short-swords. The wave of Kei that rolled off the middle-aged man nearly sent the humans to their knees. “Of course, the Heaven’s Blades were a failed project. They’re the prototype for this. A Celestial Blade.”

“Prototype…” Layfon’s eyes were wide.

“You’re all so tired. Let me handle this one.” Feli smirked.

“You’re an idiot for trying to fight an Elder alone.” Romano glared.

“I’d had a lot of pent up energy and Kei. I hadn’t had a fight in months, fratello!” Italy replied.

“Even so, you’re a baka for not bringing any kind of backup.” Japan sent Italy a miffed look, even as Feliciano sped off to greet a very large snake-like Contaminoid. It looked almost like a Chinese dragon, and it had a very large frill. It flicked its tongue, looking right at Feliciano.

“Hm… You’re an ugly one, aren’t you?” He asked rhetorically. “Not that I haven’t seen uglier. Compared to some, you’re a prom queen.” He chuckled at his own joke.

“Not really the time for jokes.” America muttered. He was still trying to process the massive size of this beast.

Feliciano, however, wasn’t perturbed in the slightest, even as he narrowly dodged a strike. He used the attack to jump up on the monster’s head. His blades managed to pierce the Contaminoid’s thick armor and he ran down a good length of the beast. He flared his kei, which glowed so brightly around him that it became nearly white.

The humans watched, enraptured. “I’ve never seen Kei so strong…” One man said. He had an almost-afro and a serious look on his face.

“Papa Feliciano…” Layfon stared in shock.

“Even your kei can’t touch those levels, kid.” The first man said to Layfon.

“He rescued me from the streets after my parents abandoned me.” Layfon spoke up. “He taught me the basics of kei, and took me to the orphanage. He hasn’t aged a day in all these years.”

“Nonsense!” A woman spoke up. “There’s no such thing as an ageless man.”

“Ah, but that is where you’re wrong.” Another woman’s voice spoke from the Nen’i petals that floated around the group.

“Y-your Majesty!”

“He’s thousands of years old, you know. He’s ageless. He’s been around since before the Regios… before the Contaminoids. He built Glendan. Essentially, he’s Glendan’s God.” The Queen chuckled.

“Y-you’re kidding!”

“If Feliciano wants Layfon to keep that Heaven’s Blade, then it’s his. Feliciano’s word is law.”

“So someone like that… found me?” Layfon watched with renewed awe.

“A time before the Contaminoids…” The other man muttered as the scene faded out.

“W-wait! What happened?!” Prussia looked around, confused.

“I beat the Contaminoid.” Italy answered with a shrug.

“You say that like it’s nothing…” Canada sweatdropped.

“It’s expected in those times.” Romano answered. “If you don’t kill it, it kills you.”

Another brief scene flowed in. This time, Feliciano was driving the Roamer with several people inside. Layfon and his platoon of four others.

“So what is it you’re going to show us?” Layfon asked, his head tilted innocently.

“I promised you, didn’t I? A long time ago.” Feli smiled wistfully. “That I’d show you the Green world?”

“Green World?” Nina asked, confused. “You mean the world before the Regios?”

“Si. Er… that’s Italian for yes.” Feliciano chuckled.

“Italian?” The white-haired Nen’i user asked.

“My home language. Italy was a country that died out thousands of years ago. The language of that country was Italian.” Feliciano grinned.

“Wow~ So there were a bunch of different languages, too?” the shorter guy with a baseball cap asked.

“Here we are. The Ruins of Tokyo.” Feliciano announced, handing out the helmets to everyone so they could breathe.

“This… is the Green World?” Layfon asked, disappointed.

“This way.” Feliciano smirked as he led the group up over the crest of the hill.

They gasped in shock. Spread out below them, was a forest of trees. Green trees. And unlike last time, it wasn’t just Ginko trees anymore. Now it consisted of Fir trees, too. The trees spread as far as the eye could see, forming a view that one might commonly see in a pre-TF park or wilderness.

Feliciano’s eyes sparkled as he dashed down into the grove of trees, the others following. They struggled a bit as sand became dirt and grass grew beneath their feet. When Feliciano took off his helmet, they half-panicked, but he reassured them that it was okay.

“The trees purify the air.” He explained.

“It’s really grown.” Japan grinned.

“Si~ It’s done more than just that, though.” Italy smirked.

Feliciano was about to say something else, when he paused, tilting his head to listen with wide eyes. “It… no way…” He got this crazy grin on his face as he dashed over to a tree and looked up.

“What is that?” Layfon asked, pointing to the strange feathered creature that made its home in the branches of the tree.

“A bird. That, Layfon, is a bird. A wild animal…” Feliciano felt tears running down his cheeks as he spotted a nearby deer. “Life… Life is returning.” He laughed, startling the larger animal into sprinting back to the small herd.

“The future… This… Life can return. Hope is not lost.” He grinned as the scene faded out.

“Perhaps another break?” England suggested.

“Fair enough.” Italy smiled as the Break Room came back into existence.

 

 

A/N: So I’ve gone back and edited what I’ve written thus far for Chrome Shelled Hetalia. As you can tell, the story is finally coming to a close. We’ve hit 5000 TF, which is the year Feli jumped back in time to save everyone.

 

I’m also thinking of giving England back his memories, too. Who’d be interested in that?

 

Words: 3,354

Pages: 7

Posted: 04/18/2019

Chapter Text

Chapter 10: Tornare

“So they kept growing.” Japan grinned as he leaned back into the chair. He looked around at the nations in the room. Only Romano, Italy and England were really paying him any mind.

“Si. The fir trees were saplings I’d planted. I figured a little variety wouldn’t hurt, and I tried introducing some animals later on. I didn’t really think they’d take, but…” Italy smiled.

“It’s incredible… in that place… I could forget what happened.” Romano smiled softly.

“Ah, but Vi-nii…” Japan spoke up, drawing Romano’s attention with the old nickname. “You forget… Feli-nii did prevent this from happening… Our home… It’s safe.”

Romano’s eyes widened in realization as the information clicked. “I think I’d forgotten…”

“Understandable, considering the sudden millennia’s worth of memories we’ve received.” Japan nodded.

“I have a question, Italy.” England looked at the quiet Italian.

“Hm?”

“My book of spells… do you still have it?”

“Oh, si. It’s helped me out a great deal!” Italy grinned as he pulled out the old weathered Grimoire. He hesitated a moment before handing it to England.

“Thank you.” He smiled before opening it. He paused on a specific page, confused. “That’s odd… my magic… I’ve sealed some of it inside.” He ran his finger down the divide of the pages, releasing the spell he’d placed upon his own book.

He then doubled over in pain, clutching his head. The three nations stiffened, realizing what was happening.

“A-Arthur…?” Italy hesitantly asked, unsure if one of his oldest friends remembered or not.

“Bloody hell, when you said it was a headache, you weren’t kidding.” England ground out through clenched teeth. In his pain, he forgot to speak English. Instead, he spoke Modern Japanese. The same language that is only spoken in the time of the Regios.

“It is you!” Italy grinned, glomping the startled Englishman.

“Yes. And that’s not all I’ve gotten back.” He smirked as he flared an oddly yellowish-white colored magic on his fingertip.

“You mean you still have it?!” Italy gasped.

“Sort of. I figured this kind of thing may happen, which is why I told you to give my Grimoire to my past self.” England twitched in mild irritation. “Something you failed to do.”

“I’m sorry… I just couldn’t part with my only remaining connection to you.” Italy sighed. “You didn’t exactly have a Dite for me to remember you by like the others.”

“Fair enough. Though I’m still disappointed. I used my power to send my memories and abilities back in time through the seal within this book. Once it was given to my past self, I knew I’d investigate the sealed magic and ultimately unlock it, restoring myself.” England explained. The other nations were now listening in.

“So you’re from the future now, too?” France blinked.

“Exactly. Think of me just like Feli, here. Tempus told us to go back. He never said how.” England smirked.

“You’re still an idiot for…” Italy looked down.

“If it’s of any help, I don’t remember dying.”

“Not really. But it’s good to have you back.” Italy smiled. “So! How’s it feel to be older than China?” Italy grinned, ducking under the indignant swat from the blond.

“SHUT UP!” England huffed.

“Nah, he’s just in denial. He can’t claim we’re older because he can’t remember just when he was born.” Romano teased.

“Now, now, be respectful of the elderly, Vi-nii.” Japan chuckled, causing England to glare.

“I beg your pardon?! You three are in the same boat as me!”

The four burst out laughing.

“Well, I was going to name you the Future Trio, but… you aren’t a trio.” Prussia sighed.

“Why?” Germany turned to his brother with a baffled expression.

“Hm? Because I’m just that kind of guy.” He grinned. “After all, Mi amigos here and I are the BTT~ Big Trouble Trio!” He laughed, looping an arm around France and Spain.

“I thought BTT stood for Bad Touch Trio?” America whispered to his brother.

“Why would it be called that?” Russia butted in, but Canada nodded.

“No, America’s right. That’s the underground name for the trio. They’re the only ones who don’t know.”

“But why?”

America sighed. “Because people think that Spain has a thing for Romano—pedophilia—France is a pervert—only partially true—and Prussia’s er…” He trailed off. “Yeah, so essentially that’s why. Though none of it’s true. As far as I know, France just enjoys teasing people. Spain only thinks of Romano as a brother or son, and Prussia’s all bark and no bite. He’s a softie.”

“Papa France is really a gentle soul. Did you know? He’s got a helpline for both humans and nations. He texts people, so they can rant or get advice without any prejudice.” Canada smiled.

“Oh? So he is helping people to be less lonely?” Russia tilted his head.

“Yeah.”

“So what do you say to finishing up these memories?” England suggested. “I mean we’re nearly to the Jump.”

“You’re right. I’ll be happy once this is all finished.” Italy sighed. “After reliving everything… I need to see to believe, you know?”

“To remind yourself that that future is no longer valid?” Japan chipped in.

“Exactly.”

“Hey, Feli...” England spoke up. “Do you think it’ll show what happened after the Jump?”

Italy looked up and blinked in surprise. “You mean what happened after I went back in time? This whole last year? I hadn’t thought of that.”

“I’d assume so. I mean, it’s important in preventing this future, hai?” Japan nodded along to his own words.

“Yeah, especially if you’re taking out guys from the TF era… Damn, that’s weird to say.” Romano shook his head.

“Wait! So where’s the other Italy?!” America asked, looking around.

“I’m right here, you bastard.” Romano glared.

“No! I mean, like… if Feli went back in time and stuff, why isn’t there two of him?”

“You mean a paradox? Hm… I hadn’t actually thought of that.” England tilted his head. “I mean we were just more concerned with actually getting here, not necessarily what we’d do when we arrived.”

“Tempus explained it to me during the Jump.” Italy spoke up. “I essentially replaced my past self. Er… I suppose you could say that I absorbed his existence or something like that, which is why I still have all my scars and stuff.”

“So whereas we’ve just regained our memories and abilities, you’ve physically jumped backwards as your future self?” Prussia blinked, as Germany stared at his brother.

“You actually understood that?!”

“Hey! Have a little more faith in your big bruder, ja?!” Prussia pouted. “I am older than you, you know.”

“I just wish you’d act it more often.” German sighed.

Before anyone could say anything more, the room faded away to show Arthur, Feliciano, and Tempus riding along in the Vargas Roamer. Both Arthur and Feliciano had a small backpack each that held only their most precious possessions.

“So you found the Lay Lines, then?” Romano asked, observing the determined expressions on the three.

“Si. But there was one catch.” Italy answered.

“You see, the Contaminoids are just as attracted to Magic as they are food, for the most part. So our destination was actually…” England swallowed thickly.

“A Hive.” Feliciano muttered under his breath as they came upon the outer edge of a canyon.

The nations all looked down in absolute shock. Below them were thousands of Contaminoids, and only a few hundred were larvae. There were holes burrowed into the canyon walls, serving as homes for the overgrown pests, and several elders slept soundly away, even as a few mates guarded the pregnant females fiercely.

“Of course this couldn’t be easy.” Arthur moaned in horror.

“You’re absolutely sure that this is the intersection?” Feliciano leveled Arthur with a serious look.

“What do you take me for, Austria?! Of course I’m certain! Though I’ll admit… I didn’t expect a Contaminoid Hive…”

“You could technically call this one of the most dangerous places on earth.” Tempus chimed in, earning a glare from the two once-nations.

“You aren’t helping.” Feliciano informed.

“Not in the slightest.” Arthur agreed.

“Though he honestly reminds me of America.”

“You know, I was thinking the same thing!”

“I’m sitting right here, you know.” Tempus pouted.

“Oh, we know.” Feliciano grinned.

“We just don’t care.” Arthur finished.

“You’re acting like twins, and it’s honestly freaking me out a little.” France shuddered.

“What, we can’t finish—” Italy started.

“—one another’s sentences?” England picked up without missing a beat.

“Grah! That’s creepy!” America cried out.

“Oh, relax. You and your brother did it to me all the time.” England crossed his arms.

“Yeah, but at least we look alike!” America defended.

“What, you’re saying that fraternal twins can’t speak in sync, now?” Romano raised an irate eyebrow.

“N-no, I’m just saying that—”

“Al… shut up before you choke on that foot in your mouth.” Canada cut off his brother, causing France to chuckle.

“No fair! You’re supposed to be on my side.” America pouted.

“Says who?” Canada muttered under his breath.

“At any rate...” Feliciano’s voice brought the nations attention back to the memory at hand. “What are we supposed to do? We can’t just charge in there, it’s suicide! Besides, we have a long-assed incantation as well.”

“Very true… If only there was some way of… distracting them…” Arthur trailed off.

“NO!” Feliciano sent his friend a sharp glare. “I can guess what you’re thinking. There’s no way I’m sacrificing another friend!”

“But Feliciano! It’s the only way…”

“I said no.” Feliciano sent the blond a fierce look. “No means no, Arthur. We’re jumping back together. I’m not heading back alone.” Arthur had the decency to look ashamed.

“You’re right. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be so eager to sacrifice myself.” He sighed. “I suppose I just…”

“You just what?” Feliciano pressed.

“I’m afraid. I failed my entire family. America… Canada… France… everyone is dead, and I left them all behind me… How could I possibly face them again?” Arthur sighed. “I’m ashamed of myself. I don’t think I could look them in the eye knowing that I let them die.”

“What happened wasn’t your fault, Arthur.” Feliciano spoke up, his expression serious.

“But…”

“If Kiku’s death, and my brother’s death weren’t my fault, then those three…” Feliciano sighed. “The day you let me blame myself is the day I let you do the same. Until then, we’ll just have to do our best to try and get it through the others’ thick skulls, si?” He sent his friend a lighthearted smirk.

“You know… I remember meeting Iceland and Sealand a while back.” Arthur spoke up suddenly.

“Really?!” Feliciano grinned.

“Yes. Sealand survived because he was a micronation, not a full nation like the rest of us. He’d been staying with Iceland at the time, who’d survived the Initial Blast. Well, I can’t say I really met them, but I’d received a phone call from Sealand just before the cell towers went down.” He smiled wistfully. “I wonder if they’re still alive out there?”

“Does it matter?” Feliciano spoke with a grin, causing the Englishman to look up in surprise. “When we’re going to save everybody anyways?”

“Oh, you!” Arthur broke out into a grin as he gave the Italian a noogie.

“If you two are finished?” Tempus interrupted with an amused smirk.

“Hey, we could seriously meet our end, here. Let us have a bit of fun before we go run off to our demises, will you?” Feliciano scoffed.

“Have a little more faith, old friend.” Arthur argued. “We aren’t so easy to kill.”

“We’re a lot easier than we used to be.” Feliciano shot back.

“False. We’re just as easy as we used to be, we just do not revive thereafter.”

“You are incorrigible!” Feliciano laughed before he sobered up a bit. “Did you ever find out what happened with the 2Ps?”

“No. I’ve been unable to make any sort of contact with them since the Initial Blast. I’ve no idea if they had a similar phenomena or if they are just fine on their end. Even the link isn’t working. Nor is magic.”

“If that’s the case… What do you say to not telling anyone?” Feliciano’s eyes flicked to his friend before focusing back on the monstrous horde of Contaminoids below them.

“You mean when we Jump Back?”

“Si. That way we might be able to just… forget it. Like a bad dream. And they won’t tiptoe around us like we’re made of glass or something.”

“That would be annoying, to say the least. Not to mention the fact that there are those who would seek out the ability to use Kei… or blame the entire incident on America…” Arthur sighed.

“Actually… I’d prefer it if you not inform anyone anyways.” Tempus spoke up, startling the two.

“You would?” Feliciano raised an eyebrow. “Or you forbid it?”

“A little of both, actually. I understand if a situation arises where you cannot get around it, but time is something that should be altered as little as possible. Normally, I’d have to erase your memories of the future after you fixed the irregularity, but seeing as you two are immortals, I’m allowed a small loophole. However, you cannot willingly reveal when you’re from unless you’ve no other choice. To anyone. Well… you can reveal it to those from the future if you want, but…”

“We understand.” Arthur nodded his head, turning to look at Feliciano. “Not even our 2Ps will know. I suppose that answers that question, now, doesn’t it?”

“I suppose it does.” Feliciano smiled.

The scene shifted a bit to show the three standing at the edge of the canyon. “That bit of rubble right there marks the spot where we need to perform the Jump.” Arthur stated, pointing to what was once some sort of monument.

“Right!” Feliciano grinned, his Dite already activated. “How long will it take you to perform the spell?”

“Six minutes.” Arthur informed. “That’s the fastest I can do it without it losing any power.”

“Then Italy and I will do our best to keep them away from you for those six minutes. The Jump should take only forty seconds including the incantation I taught you.”

“You mean that weird language?” Feliciano spoke up.

“Its official name is the Ryuuzu Tongue, or the Language of Time.” Tempus corrected.

“Ryuuzu… that sounds oddly familiar.” Feliciano muttered to himself.

“I think it’s because it resembles Old Japanese.” Arthur informed, causing Feli to nod.

“Everybody ready?” Tempus asked, and the two nodded.

There was no verbal signal. Arthur shifted his foot, and the three were off like a bullet. Feliciano slaughtered as many Contaminoids as he could right off the get-go to lower the number of enemies. He flared his Kei, hoping to distract them from Arthur as he got into position.

The memory seemed to last forever. Tempus pulled out a Dite from nowhere and helped Feliciano defend Arthur as he held his Grimoire and preformed the spell that amplified time magic.

Those six minutes were the longest six minutes that the nations could ever remember experiencing.

Arthur was nearly finished with the spell when an Elder Contaminoid reared up behind him. Feliciano and Tempus were occupied with other foes to defend the bushy-browed Englishman.

ARTHUR!!” Feliciano cried out, knowing that Arthur couldn’t stop his spell without serious consequences.

“Kesesesese!” The Contaminoid was cleaved in half, revealing a laughing white-haired man. “And this is why I am Awesome!” Gilbert laughed.

“P-Prussia!” Feliciano cried tears of relief.

“Hey, Ita! Looks like you got yourselves into a real pickle here, huh? I may not understand what’s going on, but I figured it was something important. So I brought some backup.” He smirked, as several other Contaminated around them fell.

“Don’t worry, Feliciano!” Natalya grinned. “We’ve got your back! And Ivan’s waiting at home for me. I can’t just leave my little brother, so don’t you worry. I’ll return home when I’m finished here.”

“Honestly! It’s been nearly five thousand years since I’ve seen you, and what do I find but this disastrous mess.” Roderich complained, brandishing a Dite of his own.

“Belarus? Austria?!” Feliciano looked around, seeing faces he’d thought were long dead. “E-Egypt?! Cyprus?! Australia! Lichtenstein! Estonia! Even Norway!” Feliciano stopped to stare at a very pretty girl. “Uh… Remind me who you are again?”

The girl looked rather ticked off. “I’M THE PHILIPPINES!!” She roared angrily as she cleaved three Contaminoids in half.

“I’m sorry!” Feliciano quickly apologized to the obviously strong girl. “But… everyone…”

“You’re alive…” Arthur smiled as he finished his spell.

“Ja! I had a feeling you were getting into some big trouble, so I gathered up everyone I knew was alive to come and help!” Gilbert grinned.

“So this is everyone that survived?” America looked around.

“It was everyone that Prussia knew was alive. There could be more, but he just hadn’t found them, yet.” England replied.

“I want to know why you recognized Cyprus but couldn’t name Philippines.” Romano crossed his arms. “I know you have a better memory than that.”

“Sorry, Fratello. I was sort of overwhelmed at the time. I just blanked on her name!” Italy apologized. “But can you really blame me? It’d been five thousand years since I’d seen any of these people.”

“Yet you still remembered Cyprus.” Romano huffed.

“Take that complaint up with my brain not me!”

“We appreciate the help.” Tempus smiled.

“And who might you be?” Roderich raised an eyebrow.

“I am Tempus. The Electronic Fairy of Time.” He tipped his hat before jumping out of the way of an attack.

“Wait!! You mean that you two are going to go back in time and prevent this?!” Jett (Australia) grinned.

“Yep~!” Feliciano chirped happily. “We need you to buy us forty seconds. That’s all. Then Arthur and I will be able to Jump back to before the Initial Blast… We can save everyone!

“Elizabeta…” Roderich smiled softly.

“New Zealand…” Jett smirked.

“Latvia… Lithuania…” Estonia let a tear run down his cheek.

“Ukraine… Ivan…” Natalya whispered.

“Den… Swe… Fin…” Norway gained a determined look.

“Luddy…” Gilbert grinned. “Yeah! Come on, everyone! FOR THE WORLD~!” He cried out, and the voices of the other once-nations rose to meet him. “AND FOR OUR PEOPLE!!!”

Feliciano and Arthur were ushered by Tempus into the right position. “Now you know what to do. The two nodded as they focused their Time Powers and spoke in a strange, rolling language that the nations had never heard before.

“Shit!” Gilbert cried out as a Contaminoid broke their line of defense.

It made a beeline for the two chanting individuals.

‘Feliciano!’ Arthur’s voice rang through mentally.

‘Arthur?! Since when can you?!’

‘There’s no time. I will not be able to join you in the past, I fear. But please…’ He shoved his Grimoire into the startled man’s hand. ‘Give this to my past self. Promise me. And make time… MAKE TIME THE WAY IT WAS ALWAYS MEANT TO BE!’

Arthur flung himself before Feliciano, taking the attack that would’ve killed them both.

“NO!” Feliciano cried out, even as a portal opened behind him. He fell, looking one last time upon the smiling face of a dear friend that he was unable to save.

 

 

A/N: I am so sorry about the wait for this chapter, everyone! I’ve had a lot going on irl, and I’ve been working every single day. I’m just getting over a rather nasty cold, so please forgive any discrepancies or mistakes in this chapter.

 

I also dedicate this chapter to my wonderful friend, Gio~! Hope things get better for you!!

 

So Feliciano has finally fallen backwards through time. I know I’ve a lot of readers in the Philippines, so her showing up was a low-key shoutout to you guys~! ^_~

 

And it appears that I cannot write something without making some kind of Mansion Reference. XD To clarify, Feliciano has not gone through the Mansion in this story. The Initial Blast took place before he could hear those rumors, and so he never became the Ryuuzu no Ko. And then with preventing everything, he never really actually went, in the dimension of this story.

 

So look forward to the next chapter, everyone! This story is nearly finished. Now all we’ve left to see is how Feliciano deals with being in the past again with everyone alive. ^^ I hope you enjoyed this chapter!!

 

Words: 3,212

Pages: 7

Posted: 05/12/2019

Chapter Text

Chapter 11: Rimpiazzare

“Italy…” Tempus’ voice sounded. Suddenly the next scene faded in. It was a whirl of colors and sounds. It was overwhelming.

“M-My head! I can’t think!!” Feliciano grasped his head in pain, curling in on himself. “Where am I? What’s going on?”

“You are traveling through time. I’ve given you a mark as proof that you are doing so with approval. It will burn for a bit, but it won’t hinder you. Now, for the replacement—”

“The what?!” Feliciano’s eyes snapped open, and he looked at the man before him. Tempus smiled, seemingly unaffected by the sounds and colors whirling past them.

“You are going to essentially consume and replace your past self. That way, we can avoid a paradox. Hold on; this will not be pleasant. After you’ve landed in the past, I will no longer be able to contact you. You will be on your own.”

“So this is goodbye.” Feliciano looked him in the eye. “Thank you. I will never be able to repay you for this opportunity.”

“It is I who is in your debt, should you succeed.” Tempus smiled and bowed to a startled Feliciano. “Farewell, Feliciano Vargas… Veneziano Italy.”

Tempus then vanished, and the colors became more vibrant, more violent. What had been greys turned red, like blood, before brightening into vibrant colors. The muttering in the background became deafening, like billions of people talking all at once—some yelling or screaming—layered with every sound of the Old World, before the Initial Blast. Car horns and bombs and alarm systems accosted the nations’ ears, causing them all to cover their ears and shut their eyes.

Feliciano’s screams were lost to the chaos around him, as he became just another voice in the crowd.

“W-What is this!?” France cried out.

“Time travel.” Italy answered as the chaos abruptly ceased. The sound dulled significantly, until all that was left was a ringing in everyone’s ears and the distant sound of cars on the road. A distant chatter was hardly registered in the wake of the deafening experience. Colors dulled to a dark room, and the nations checked their ears for blood.

“Time travel? Is that what it’s like?” Romano shuddered.

“Perhaps it was best I did not come.” England shivered.

“That was us jumping over the timestream to a specific point in the past. We just watched over 5,000 years pass us by.” Italy rubbed his own ears. “Though I’d rather have not experienced that twice.”

For a moment, Feliciano laid on the floor of the room, before he found the strength to stand up. He looked around himself, recognizing dazedly his old bedroom.

“Is this… Home?” He blinked. Before he could do anything else, he heard a rustling in the bed directly in front of him. He stood up, and looked down upon his past self.

I look so… peaceful… He thought to himself. So… young. He smiled softly, looking at himself in the mirror that hung on the wall. His hair went to his mid-back, and had streaks of silver throughout. He had a bit of stubble and his wrinkles gave him a ruggish look. He was several inches taller than he used to be, and several scars were visible on his person. If I were to face my old friends like this, they’d have a panic attack for sure… He smiled softly, before looking down at his old self.

This feels wrong. Like I’m killing someone… but I suppose the only person I’m killing… is myself. My childhood, in a sense. My innocence. But that’s been dead… He reached towards his sleeping self. For a very long time.

The moment he rested his hand on his past-self’s forehead, that same past self started to fade away, like a ghost. Never once did he wake up.

Feliciano stood there after his old self had completely vanished, leaving an empty bed. He stared, confused at his own reflection. Nothing’s changed? His brows furrowed. No, that’s not right… Tempus said it would hurt… so where’s the… His eyes widened as the pain abruptly registered. He bit his hand to keep himself from crying out in pain. Blood dripped to the floor as he crumpled to the ground, spasming in agony, as if having a seizure.

Slowly, he started to shrink. His hair lost its grey lines and his wrinkles smoothed out. His scars, however, remained.

After what felt like hours, he fell still and silent. If he hadn’t been panting, the nations would fear he’d died.

“Well…” His voice sounded younger again. “That isn’t something I’d like to experience ever again.” He shook his head and shakily sat up, propping himself up against his bed. He thought for a moment, and concentrated, spreading some ice along the ground. “Okay, so powers stayed, check.”

“Master Vargas?!” JARVIS’ voice sounded from Feliciano’s pocket, making him jump. He quickly pulled out the smart phone, and stared in shock.

“J-JARVIS!? Is that you?”

“Who else would it be? Siri?”

“Dear Kami, why did we make you so sarcastic?” Feliciano shook his head. “I blame Fratello for your crappy sense of humor.” He chuckled before wincing, the brief image of Lovino’s death flashed in the memory before it returned to the bedroom.

“No… No, he’s alive now.” He shook his head. “They’re all alive now.”

“Master Vargas?” JARVIS questioned. “Where are we? I sense more people outside than I have in any Regios before!”

“We aren’t in a Regios, JARVIS.”

“We aren’t?”

“The question isn’t where, but when.” He smiled, as he stood on shaky legs and looked out his window. Below, people milled about the streets of Italy, minding their own business. The sky was bright and blue, and trees grew everywhere. Birds flew in the sky, and cars drove along the streets without a care in the world. People walked dogs, and stray cats prowled the alleyways.

Feliciano didn’t realize when he’d started crying. “I can’t hear them…” He smiled bitterly. “But I’m home. Italia… I shall save you, if it takes my last breath to do so.” A determined gleam entered his eye. “But first, to America.”

The memory faded out.

“Time travel is a migrane and a half, aru!” China crossed his arms.

“You’re telling me!” Italy huffed, “I’m the one who had to go through that!”

“Thank you, Italy.” America smiled. “For saving us all.”

“Oui. I shudder to think what the world would be like without your sacrifice.” France added.

Think? We know what it’d be like. And I, for one, don’t want any part of that.” Canada shuddered.

“I am thinking that we are all owing Italiya for what he has done.” Russia smiled.

The next memory faded in, showing Feliciano on an airplane, presumably flying to America. He had a pair of earphones in, and smiled contentedly as he lightly bobbed his head to the music.

The nations could hear some kind of rock music playing in the background.

“Whatcha listenin to?” America asked.

“Linkin Park.” Italy answered with a near-feral grin.

“I have heard their songs. Not quite my cup of tea.” England shrugged.

“Just don’t let Hungary hear you playing those songs. She’d really have a panic attack.” Romano chuckled.

“I do have this one song on my phone… It’s a Limp Bizkit.” Italy smirked.

“Oh! Oh! Is it Break Stuff?!” America grinned.

“Yep~” Italy chirped, as America busted up laughing.

“What is Limp Biscuit?” Germany asked, confused, even as his brother cackled.

“It’s Limp Bizkit, und you don’t want to know.” Prussia grinned. “It’s not quite your kind of song.” He explained through his chuckles.

Feliciano startled when the plane hit the runway, landing in Los Angeles, USA. He smiled and pulled out his headphones. As he exited the plane and went through customs and the like, he didn’t lose the small smile of excitement.

When he stepped outside, and saw the American Flags flying proudly in the wind, he let out a laugh. “I really did it…”

“It hadn’t set in until then.” Italy explained. “Not really. I mean, I knew I’d gone back in time, but the fact that I could prevent this… It hadn’t set in until then.”

“I don’t remember you telling me about a trip to America…” Romano furrowed his brows.

“I didn’t tell you. I left a note saying I had business to tend to, and I wouldn’t be home for several weeks.”

“You jerk! Do you know how worried I was?!” Romano glared.

“Sorry, but… I didn’t trust myself to face you at the time. I wasn’t exactly allowed to explain time travel and stuff, you know? You’d been dead for thousands of years… I didn’t know how to face you. Not after all this time… when you didn’t remember, and I still had to prevent this entire mess.”

“Entirely understandable.” England shrugged. “Tempus was very clear that we weren’t to tell anyone unless under very specific circumstances.”

“I… I guess I can understand… still, that doesn’t make me feel any less annoyed.” Romano huffed.

“I think that’s a ‘you’ problem.” Italy muttered under his breath, causing England to snort in amusement.

The memory had shifted while nobody had been paying attention.

Feliciano had just hung up the phone and sat at a café. He enjoyed a Starbucks coffee while waiting for someone to arrive.

“Starbucks? Really?” Romano gave his brother a look.

“Can you blame me? Coffee was something I hadn’t had in nearly five thousand years!”

“You mean there wasn’t coffee in the future?!” America cried out, aghast.

“Just because you run off the stuff.” England rolled his eyes. “But no, the coffee bean plant did not survive the apocalypse. Neither did Marijuana or peppermint. Most herbs and plants used in cooking died out. Fortunately, I kept a very large back stock of tealeaves, so my tea lasted about eight centuries. Oh! But I found another few plants that I could make tea out of, so I still got my afternoon tea thereafter.” He smirked.

“Even dandelions died out, so no coffee there, either.” Romano sighed.

“I found something I could make green tea out of, though it wasn’t quite the same.” Japan sighed.

“Italy?” Feliciano’s head whipped up as a familiar blonde-haired man sat down across from him. The nations blinked in surprise.

“C-Canada…” Feliciano stuttered and wiped away a stray tear. “Thank you for meeting me here. I have a favor to ask of you, but before that…”

“It all makes sense, now.” Canada blinked. “I was so confused by this conversation.”

“You were the only one I could think of that wouldn’t ask too many questions.” Italy smiled.

“O…kay?” Matthew looked at the very serious Italian before him in concern and confusion.

“I need you… please don’t ask too many questions. I’m afraid I cannot answer them right now. But your brother—America—is in grave danger. I need access to an uncharted bunker to do research in. Please? It’s more important than I could ever convey. I’ll give you whatever you want in exchange; money, land, goods…”

Matthew stared for a moment, startled by the request, before his eyes hardened. “If my brother is in danger… then I’ll help in whatever way I can. No payment necessary. But I do want to help.”

Feliciano looked at his plate in contemplation. He looked ready to say no, when Matthew spoke up again.

Please!” Feliciano looked up at him. “Please… Let me protect my little brother for once. He always tries to protect everyone else… I won’t ask questions… Please… Just let me be useful this one time.” Matthew’s violet eyes locked with Feliciano’s dark golden ones.

They stared for several long minutes until Feliciano finally sighed. “Fine. You can help. But know that there are some things I just am not allowed to answer or explain.”

“Thank you.” Matthew smiled.

“Wait, I don’t remember that…” Canada puzzled for a moment. “Come to think of it, I don’t really remember much after I sat down with you…”

“Er… well, I think that’ll be explained.” Italy sighed. “You… sort of have some mild amnesia.”

“I… what?”

“You took a pretty nasty hit to the head, and when you woke up, you didn’t really remember any of the stuff we did to save the world.”

“Wait… So I helped you save the world?” Canada raised an eyebrow.

“Of course you did! What, you think that a single man can do that alone?”

“Well… when you put it that way…” America sweatdropped. “I suppose I can understand. Even heroes need help.” He smiled.

“Did America just call someone else a hero?” England muttered to France who nodded in shock.

“I think our little boy is growing up.”

“I think he grew up a long time ago.” England stared. “But we just never realized.” He sighed.

“So you can’t explain anything, but what’s putting America in so much danger? What are we fighting against?” Matthew asked, tilting his head.

“There’s a secret underground organization that’s dabbled in powers that they have no business touching.” Feliciano glared. “Originally, I was going to have a partner helping me out, but…”

“I would have helped you if you’d only have given me my Grimoire.” England scoffed.

“Sorry,” Italy defended. “Forgive me for being a little sentimental. Plus, as you’ll see, there really wasn’t much of an opportunity.”

The memory hazed for a moment before showing Matthew and Feliciano in some kind of lab. It was a great deal smaller than Feliciano and Lovino’s lab on Upwhur, but Feli had a somewhat similar setup—minus the holographic Regios-building tech.

“So let me get this straight.” Matthew started, waiting for Feli to nod to show he was listening. “You’re from some kind of alternate reality and was sent here to prevent a great disaster from occurring that will kill off most of the world, you’ve created JARVIS, and you can’t tell anyone the details without getting in some really big trouble. Did I get that right?”

“Yeah, pretty much. Alternate reality is as close as I can get to explaining it without breaking the rules. Oh! You forgot that this group of people may be from that same reality as me.”

“That’s not confusing at all.” Matthew pinched the bridge of his nose to stave off a headache. “So why do you need my help?”

“Because anyone else would press me for answers I can’t give, for one. Especially when they see what we’re up against. Besides…” Feliciano turned to look at Matthew with dark, war-torn eyes. “You’re observant. You’re loyal. And above all… You’re immortal.”

Matthew’s eyes widened. “You… aren’t?”

“Do you have that flower I sent you to get?” Feliciano abruptly changed the subject, throwing Matthew off for a moment.

“Oh, uh, yeah.” He pulled out a beautiful flower from his bag. It looked oddly familiar to the nations.

“Oh! That’s from the first set of memories in the tunnels!!” China realized.

“You’re right! Wow, that feels like forever ago…” France blinked.

“Only about five thousand years, give or take.” England shrugged.

“Don’t remind me. I feel old enough as it is.” Italy glared.

“Oh hush, you. How do you think I feel? I may have a younger body, now, but I’m mentally roughly the same age as you.” The Englishman crossed his arms irritably.

“Haha! Dude, you’re old.” America poked him playfully. “Should I get you a life-alert?”

“I’M STILL ANGRY ABOUT THAT, ARU!” China shouted, recalling the time America and Prussia got him a Life Alert for his birthday.

“Grazie.” Feliciano smiled as he took the flower carefully from Matthew. “This is what was used, if I remember correctly. I’ve been studying a few things over the last few millennia, but…” He trailed off into mutters as he put himself to work, reminding the Nations abruptly of how he focused in the future.

“Uh… I’ll just stand here and, er… make you coffee or something.” Matthew shifted awkwardly before he went over to the coffee machine.

“I’m curious, Ita-nii… why did you not call myself or Prussia-san to help you out?” Japan looked over at his brunette friend.

“In all honesty… the same reason I didn’t ask fratello for help… Your deaths were very traumatic for me, and in all honesty, I didn’t know if I wanted to see you two so soon… It was…” Italy sighed. “It was just too hard.”

“I understand, Ita.” Prussia grinned. “I’m just too Awesome.”

Italy couldn’t hold back his chuckles, and the Prussian called it a victory, having made the somber Italian smile. “Si, si.”

“Oh! Sorry, Canada… I sorta forget when other people are around me…” Feliciano chuckled as he rubbed the back of his head.

“You seem… used to being alone…” Matthew noted.

“I am, really. When you’ve only got an AI that you yourself created as your only real company… Hehe… You kinda forget how to socialize.” He shrugged nonchalantly, completely missing the Canadian’s slightly horrified expression.

“At any rate, there is something you can do to help me.” Feli grinned and pulled out a small familiar notebook. He flipped it open to show the array of the Time Curse. “I want you to find anyone with this tattooed on their bodies.”

“Th-that’s a tall order… Do you have any specific area to start searching in?” Matthew sweatdropped.

“I was given this…” He pulled out a clunky device that had some kind of sonar ring on the screen. “It’ll ping when you’re near anyone with that tattoo.” His gaze hardened. “Don’t engage. Get a picture, if you can, and try to monitor them. I will take care of them. You’re allowed to help, but not interfere like I am.”

“Not… allowed?” He shook his head. “Okay, then.” Matthew took a picture of the array with his phone.

“Please contact me immediately if you can. Search the Eastern US first… Try areas near the Nuclear Power Plants.”

“The Power Plants?! Italy, I know I said I wouldn’t ask, but just how big of a danger is this thing?”

“We’re preventing the end of the world, Matthew.” Feliciano stated sternly. “If we fail, everything is over. Including our countries and world as we know it.”

Matthew paled. “The end… of everything? Sounds like one of Al’s movies…” He shuddered. “I’ll be going, then.”

“Be safe.” Feliciano waved him off.

A few days later, Feliciano finally decided to take a break. “Dio, this is such a mess.” He cracked his neck, working out the kinks as he picked up the journal and idly flipped through it. “What’s this?” His eyes narrowed… “That can’t be right…”

“Master Vargas?” JARVIS asked.

“According to this…” His eyes widened. “Oh no…” He stood up abruptly. “I have to go after Canada!”

“M-Master Vargas?! What’s the matter?!”

“I may have just sent him to stir a hornet’s nest. I just hope I can reach him before he’s killed.” He grabbed his jacket and sped out of the lab, leaving a very confused AI as the memory finally faded away.

 

 

 

A/N: So… Feli’s discovered something interesting about this mysterious Organization. *Evil chuckles* They’re more dangerous than they let on… Will poor uninformed Matthew be okay? We’ll find out next chapter~

 

This story is nearly complete!! I’m so excited!! All that’s left is to kill the Cursed Ones who went back in time, and then wrap everything up!

 

Also! If anyone has a Jamba Juice near them, try asking for a couple of these awesome Secret Menu items (Some are so secret that they may not know them by name, so I’ll add the recipe with it!!).

 

White Gummi (now on the menu, so you don’t need the recipe for this one!!)

 

Endless Lime (Tell them Orange Dream Machine, No OJ, sub Lemonade; No Orange Sherbet, sub Lime Sherbet.)

 

Tropical Sunburst [one of the best!!]: {Just be nice and don’t order this one late at night after they’ve already cleaned their Orange Juice Machine!!}

SMALL: 6 oz pineapple Juice; 3 oz Fresh OJ; 2 scoops Pineapple Hardpack; 2 med scoops Pineapple (IQF)

MEDIUM: 6 oz pineapple Juice; 4 oz Fresh OJ; 2 scoops Pineapple Hardpack; 2 scoops Pineapple (IQF)

LARGE: 8 oz pineapple Juice; 6 oz Fresh OJ; 2 scoops Pineapple Hardpack; 2 scoops Pineapple (IQF)

 

There’s also one called a Penya Kolwada.

Fun fact… an old old smoothie is called “Thank You Jesus”. XD At my store, it appears next to another smoothie called the “Screamin’ O”. I always laugh.

 

 

Words: 3,172

Pages: 7

Posted: 06/23/2019

Chapter Text

Chapter 12: Cedere

“Wait! What just happened?!” France looked at Italy and Canada in confusion.

“I realized something important… that our enemies…” Italy looked over as the next memory started.

“Damnit!” Feliciano cursed as his phone hit voicemail again. “Fucking Matthew, pick up your goddamned phone!” He angrily stuffed his phone in his pocket. “Technology hates me.” He sighed.

“Now…” He looked at the midnight blue Ferrari before him. “How do I work a normal car again?” He pulled out the key fob and randomly hit a couple buttons, setting off the alarm before it finally unlocked. “Oh, yeah…” He climbed in and jammed the key in the ignition and turned it, causing the engine to roar to life. He smirked. “Oh, this’ll be interesting. I think I remember how to navigate traffic… Mostly.”

“M-MOSTLY?!” Japan cried out in horror. “Onegai… iie…” He shuddered in fear, remembering the car ride the two of them had gone on. And that was while Italy’s driving skills were used regularly!

“Don’t worry! I didn’t hit anyone~” Italy reassured the group. “Unless you count that bank robber.”

“THAT STILL COUNTS!” France cried out, horrified.

Feliciano hit the gas, nearly reversing into a tree, before he stopped, switched gears, and sped off. The nations sweatdropped, wondering if he would really only hit one person.

“Well… in my defense, I hadn’t driven for nearly five thousand years, unless you count a Roamer… but that’s more of an off-terrain vehicle.” Italy shrugged.

“Did you get pulled over?” America wondered idly.

“Nope~ I managed to lose the cops.” Italy grinned.

America just sighed. “I’ll find the record and wipe it.”

“Oh, you don’t need to do that~ I used a fake license plate~”

The scene abruptly changed to show Matthew standing on the roof of a tall building in New York City at night. He was watching the screen on the device Feli had given to him, seemingly unaware of his surroundings.

The radar showed several pings, but one in particular was incredibly close. The nations stiffened, worried about their little Canadian.

“As far as I know, I’m fine.” Canada reassured the group.

“Doesn’t keep us from worrying, mon cher.” France shook his head.

Before anyone knew what was going on, a hand reached out from the shadows behind Matthew and covered his mouth. His eyes widened in horror as he was pulled back into the more secluded area of the roof.

“Mattie…” America was just barely keeping himself from panicking.

Matthew, however, wasn’t going down without a fight. He whipped his head back, colliding with the person’s nose with a satisfying crunch, before stomping the heel of his boot down on their foot. He then jammed his elbow into their gut, causing them to release their hold with a cry of pain.

Matthew immediately whirled around to face his attacker, who held up their hands in surrender.

Damnit Matthew! It’s me!” Light illuminated Feliciano’s face, one hand held to stem the bleeding of his broken nose while the other was wrapped around his midsection. He carefully kept weight off his left foot, where the other had mercilessly broken several toes.

“Dude, what the hell?!” America glared at Italy, who looked away, a light pink dusting his cheeks.

“The hell Italy?!” Matthew growled. “I thought you were one of those—”

“Shhh!” Feli immediately shushed him. “We can’t talk here; it’s too dangerous. We need to get back to the lab. Now.”

“But there are several—”

“I know.” Feli pulled back the side of his jacket to show a hastily wrapped injury, which was now bleeding profusely through the makeshift bandages due to the earlier elbow to the gut. “I got attacked earlier. All the more reason to get somewhere safe. That really hurt, you know.” Feli held his gut tenderly as he quickly set his busted nose with a wince.

“Sorry… but it’s really your fault for sneaking up on me.” Matthew shrugged.

“Cold, man.” America winced.

“I’m Canada. Cold is kinda my thing.”

“Well… I suppose I did have it coming…” Feli admitted with a wince.

“You okay?” Matthew asked, looking at Feli’s bleeding side.

“Yeah, just a gunshot wound…” Feli paused, tilting his head. “Actually… I can’t really feel my nation. This could be a problem.”

“You what?!” Matthew choked. “What the hell do you mean you can’t feel your nation?!”

“Oh, um… I don’t really know how to explain this… Let’s just say I’ve got some connection issues and leave it at that for now.”

Connection issues? You’re not a smartphone.”

“A… oh yeah… that’s a thing.” Feli chuckled a bit, before wincing and clutching his side a bit more. “Okay. No laughing.”

“We need to get that tended to…”

“No time. We have to get out of here before—”

“Leaving so soon?” A woman’s voice echoed from the shadows of the building, causing Feli and Matthew to whirl around in surprise.

“Shit. They’ve found us.” Feli cursed under his breath.

“Indeed we have, Feliciano Vargas. You’re quite the hard man to track down.” She stepped into the light, revealing a young woman in her mid to late twenties with dark red hair, yellow eyes, and pale skin.

“How do you know me?” Feli’s eyes narrowed into golden slits.

“Oh, we have our ways… You won’t stop us. Time may be on your side, but we’ve got the power of the gods on ours.”

“The… gods?” Matthew echoed, confused.

“Allow me to demonstrate.” She smirked, approaching the two at a leisurely pace. Feliciano made to draw his gun, but the woman shook her head, her eerie yellow eyes twinkling with amusement. “Oh, I wouldn’t move too fast, if I were you.”

Matthew stiffened when he noticed movement on the roof next to them. A sniper.

“We’ve got you surrounded. One wrong move, and this rooftop will be covered in your brain matter.” She walked right up to the edge of the building, before gesturing down at the crowd of people. “See that? Look at all the people down there. Why, it would be a shame if someone were to… say… open fire on them.”

“You wouldn’t!” Matthew growled.

“Oh, we would.” She smirked, raising her left hand into the air. She made a signal, and several rounds were released into the crowd. The panicked screams of hundreds made the nations cringe.

“We are gods, here.” The woman smirked. With a flick of her wrist, the gunshots ceased. A twist of her hand signaled one man. He stood from the rooftop, holding out a hand before him, before releasing a concentrated blast of Kei energy into the crowd, killing dozens instantly.

“Mon dieu…” France paled.

“How awful…” England agreed. The nations shuddered, giving America sympathetic looks.

“I… Is that why you won’t teach us this Kei stuff?” America asked softly, remembering the incident.

“Si. It’s not only powerful, but unnecessary in this world. It evolved only to help humanity’s survival against the Contaminoids. No Contaminoids, no Kei. That’s how it should be.” Italy answered, voice just as soft.

The smell of blood filled the air as a terrible hush overcame the area. “I’m not looking to necessarily kill you… yet. Interfere further into that which you do not understand, and we’ll have some serious issues.” She spoke to Matthew.

“You, on the other hand, Mr. Vargas… You’re already in far too deep.” She gave a sickly grin. “You… will need to be eliminated.” Feli’s eyes widened.

Without warning, he dropped to the ground, the bullet grazing the top of his head. Immediately, he rolled to the side, and grabbed Matthew’s arm.

“We’re leaving!”

“You don’t have to tell me twice!”

“GET THEM!” The woman roared, an inhuman sound escaped her throat, chilling the nations to the bone.

Her mouth split from the corners like some grotesque smile. Razor sharp teeth lined her maw, as her tongue split into several tentacles that lashed outwards in an attempt to capture her escaping prey. Her back bulged with a sickening crack, as dragonfly-like wings sprouted from her back.

Matthew made the mistake of glancing behind him as they tried to reach the door, and paled. “What the fuck?!”

“Don’t stop!” Feliciano warned him, but Matthew had paused long enough. A bullet found its home in Feli’s shoulder, causing him to cry out in pain and hide behind the wall. Their exit route was blocked.

“You won’t escape alive.” The woman promised. Her voice sounded layered and gravelly, like several people talking at once.

“What are you?!” Matthew demanded.

“So… I was right.” Feliciano’s mouth was set into a grim line. “Matthew… You’re going to have to trust me, here. When I say ‘go’, run to the edge of the roof.”

“Wh-what?!”

“Just do it!” Feli stood up, barely dodging the gunfire. He concentrated Kei into his left hand and aimed it at the roof he stood on. “GO!” He let loose as Matthew shut his eyes and ran for the ledge.

Feliciano wasn’t far behind him, as the blinding light from the explosion slowed down the woman and created a smokescreen.

The two jumped over the edge of the building. Matthew let out a startled yelp as he felt an arm wrap around his midsection. “RESTORATION! 0-3!” Feliciano’s voice cried out as golden threads erupted from his Dite.

In a manner reminiscent of Spiderman, the two swung off to safety. The woman’s cries of anger followed them, as she flew after them, intent on catching them.

The scene shifted, showing the two sitting in an alleyway. They looked exhausted and filthy. The sun was already rising and sirens were heard in the distance, showing that they’d made it quite far from the scene of the shooting. Matthew was patching up Feliciano’s gunshot wounds.

“What the hell was that?” Matthew demanded, a set glare on his face.

“These people aren’t human.”

“Gee, ya don’t say? And here I thought growing a mouthful of fangs was normal.” Matthew’s eyebrow twitched in irritation. “I’m not in the mood for games.”

“They’re… erm… Genetically modified? I think.” Feli stated, causing Matthew to pull the wrappings a little tighter. “Ow.” Feli glared.

“That doesn’t answer my question. The fuck was that?! That’s more than ‘genetic modification’! And just what are they after?! They opened fire on a crowd of people for no reason. What the hell is going on?”

“I… can’t really explain much…”

“Why not? You’ve dragged me into an obviously dangerous situation, refusing to tell me anything at all of value. You’re apparently mortal, and forgot to tell me that little tidbit, and, uh, oh yeah; these things can apparently shoot energy beams from their hands. I think… after nearly having my head blown off, you owe me an explanation.”

“I’m not allowed to explain, Matthew. I’ll get in really big trouble if I tell you more than I already have. I’m toeing the line as it is.” Feli admitted.

“Not allowed?! Oh, so you’ve got someone giving you orders, now?!” His voice rose to an angered whisper. “Just how big is this stupid web of shit you’ve dragged me into?!” He paused, glaring at Feliciano. “It’s always just ‘Do this, Canada. Do that, Canada.’ ‘I can’t tell you anything, Canada!’ Well, maybe I’m sick and tired of being your yes-man all the time. Can’t you trust me at all? Can’t you trust anyone?!”

His words hung heavily in the air, as Feliciano expertly held back a wince, his bangs shadowing his eyes making his expression unreadable. The sound of Lovino’s dying scream made him flinch, causing Matthew to misread the situation.

Matthew let out a breath of disbelief. “Wow. You really don’t trust anyone anymore. I don’t know you anymore. You’re so different, and it honestly scares me. You’re not Italy anymore.” Feliciano cringed as he spoke. Matthew paused for a moment, thinking carefully about what he was about to say. “I don’t know what’s going on. And unless you’re suddenly ready to volunteer that information to me, I’m out.”

Feliciano looked up sharply, a slight panic coming into his gaze. “You’re leaving me?” I’ll be alone… again?

“Yeah. I’m sorry, but I just can’t work with someone who’s going to put me in danger without even giving me a solid reason why. I’ve got people I care about, too, and not all of them are immortal. I’m giving you three days to vacate the lab. After that, I’ll get rid of anything left behind.” Matthew stood up, pointedly not looking at the Italian. “I trust you can find your own way back.” With that, he got up and walked away.

Feliciano sighed, disheartened. “I suppose it was selfish of me, after all, to try to share this burden…”

“That was a little cold.” America turned to his brother.

“I was scared, okay? I didn’t have any context at all, and he was refusing to tell me anything. We’d just been attacked by people who looked like monsters! For all I knew, it could’ve gotten someone I care for killed.” Canada defended himself, thinking of Al’s States, and his own kids. Though he did still feel like an ass. After seeing what Feli went through… to just abandon him like this? “I’m sorry, Italy. It came out crueler than I intended.”

“No, no… It’s all right. I deserved it.” Italy shook his head. “I really did leave you in the dark. With what little information you had… It’s completely understandable. I wasn’t used to how everyone used to act back in the AD era… I’d forgotten how strange and scary such a situation would be. It was really my fault for not thinking anything through.”

“It wasn’t your fault, aru.” China spoke up, startling the group a bit. Nobody had really wanted to speak up, all things considered. “You were traumatized. You had hardly had any human contact for centuries… Millennia, even! It was a miracle that you could get any part of your point across.”

“It still doesn’t excuse such a blatant fuck-up.” Italy responded.

“I suppose I should get going, then.” Feli sighed, looking around himself.

“Master Vargas?” Jarvis asked from the smartphone replica in Feli’s pocket.

“Heh… You know you’ve hit rock bottom when an AI is more worried about you than an actual person.” Feli scoffed.

“Your brother did program me to worry about you.” Jarvis reminded him.

“It’s the closest thing I have to him… right…” His eyes widened in realization. “The Tunnels…”

“I’m sorry?”

“I have a lab I can use. I’m sure… He’ll ask questions, but… my brother will keep his mouth shut if I really need him to.” Feli smiled. “Looks like we’re going home…”

“I’ve already purchased a plane ticket for you, Master Vargas.”

“Grazie, Jarvis.” Feli smirked, pulling himself to his feet with a grimace. “This time… I’ll fix everything.”

 

 

A/N: Hey everyone! Sorry it’s been so long. Depression’s kicking my ass again. -_- On the plus side, I’ve been getting hella hours at work lately, so I’m financially semi-stable, now. ^^ At the very least, I’m not going to have to go back to soup kitchens any time soon!

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed the chapter. Had to rewrite it when Mattie went waaay OOC. Hehe. Hopefully I did him justice this time. Don’t think we’ve seen the last of him, though. ^_~ And I’ve now introduced this random group of weirdo non-humans into the mix! Yay! XD

 

Time, what am I doing with my life?

 

Words: 2,472

Pages: 5

Posted: 08/03/2019

 

SHOUTOUTS:

 

Special thanks to Byrony for being my second pair of eyes and catching some embarrassing typos (cause I’m a dork and I write at freaking ungodly hours).

 

This chapter is dedicated to everyone who’s currently struggling with depression and/or self-harm.

 

“You can be stronger tomorrow than you were today. Yesterday is not a failure, but a lesson to learn from. And sometimes, the most painful lessons, are the ones we need the most.”

– Rin (SilvermistAnimeLover)

Chapter Text

Chapter 13: Uccidere

The nations were treated to a montage of Feliciano returning to the United States and tracking the men from the organization. One by one, he picked them off, each time, checking off a name on a list in his little black notebook.

“Mind giving us some context? I thought you were going home to get help from your brother?” France asked, worried for the little Italian.

“Er… I tried going home, but I ended up chickening out. I couldn’t face Fratello for more than a few minutes.” Italy looked down at his shoes. “It was too hard. Every time I looked in his eyes, I saw my own mistakes thrown in my face.”

“Veneziano…” Romano looked at his twin with a heavy gaze.

“I lied and said I was going to say at Germany’s place, only to head back to America. I spent months on the streets of New York City tracking the movements of the group and how many members there were.”

“You lived on the streets of New York? Dude, you mean you stayed in a hotel, right?” America hoped he’d just misinterpreted that.

“No. I learned pretty quickly that this group had connections. They were tracking me, so I had to hack a few systems and lay out a fake trail that showed myself in Germany. That meant laying as low as humanly possible. I couldn’t risk anything—not even word-of-mouth. So I lived on the streets.”

“Not like it’d be the first time.” Romano sighed. “Though I wish you’d have told me, you fucking ass. I would’ve helped, even without you explaining shit.”

“Let’s see if this works.” Feliciano took a deep breath as he sat beneath a bridge, out of sight of any pedestrians. He said a few words in that strange, rolling tongue, and England quickly whacked Italy upside the head.

“You twat! Are you messing around with time?!”

“Not exactly. I wanted to see if I could retake my older form. Sort of, gain back my own time.” Italy explained sheepishly, as his memory-self grew a little taller. His hair grew longer, stopping at the small of his back, and silver-grey streaks formed in the auburn locks. His golden eyes became framed with light wrinkles, and his skin gained a bit of a darker tone, like he’d spent far too long in the harsher rays of the sun. His chin formed thick stubble that was bordering a short beard that was also speckled with grey.

In all, he looked just as he had before going back in time. “Perfecto.” He smiled at his own reflection in a broken mirror.

“But… why?” Romano tilted his head, concerned.

“Two reasons, fratello.” Italy explained. “One, this organization knew what I looked like, and I couldn’t risk them connecting my face to yours—beyond that, I’d only managed to pick off their helpers at that point. I had only managed to kill one member of their Inner Circle, of which there were five people. And the last guy sent a photo of me to the others before he died.”

“So it’d be easier to kill them if they didn’t know what you looked like.” China nodded along as he listened.

“Precisely.”

“Und the other reason?” Prussia pressed, curious.

“So we wouldn’t recognize you.” Germany was the one who spoke up. “I’m right, aren’t I?”

“Si… I didn’t want any of you involved. Canada showed me just how terrible I’d become at human interaction over the millennia, and I couldn’t risk the mission. I had to disappear.” Italy sighed. “I’m sorry.”

“Wait… but I thought your brother said you were just busy with work?” Germany tilted his head.

“I covered for him, the idiota.” Romano shook his head. “We’ve had to vanish before, but usually we let the other know at least some of what’s going on. When I realized he wanted to disappear, I covered his damn ass because I’m a good brother.”

“Si. You’re the best fratello~” Italy smiled at Romano, who flushed and looked away.

“Damn straight.”

“What about me, Feli-nii?” Japan tilted his head. “Aren’t I a good brother, too?”

Italy laughed, ruffling Japan’s hair, causing the Asian nation to startle. “Si, si. You’re both the best brothers.”

“You are not looking good.” Russia pointed towards Feliciano, who was rather pale as he sat back against the underside of the bridge.

“Were you hurt, aru?”

“Fucking assholes. Goddamned guns.” Feliciano cursed under his breath as he lifted his shirt to show a bandaged torso, which was bleeding red at the side.

“W-wait. That isn’t where I elbowed you, is it?” Canada paled a little.

“What? No, that was months ago. I got shot and stabbed on the same side about a week before this memory.” Italy explained.

“A week? Sh-shouldn’t it have healed by now?” America looked distinctly worried.

“If I were a nation at this time, then yes.” Italy answered simply.

“Hold up, if you were a nation?!” Canada shared a horrified look with his brother.

“Technically, I’m not allowed to fully join the past until I can prevent the future I came from.” Italy sighed. “So I can’t connect to my people and nation until every one of those cult members are dead.”

“So you were mortal until you killed them all?” England pinched the bridge of his nose. For once, he was glad that he hadn’t jumped back in the same manner as his friend.

“Woah, no. Hold up one fucking minute.” Romano put a firm hand on his twin’s shoulder and forced him to look him in the eye. “Are you still mortal?”

“I mean, not technically, but I haven’t exactly been keen to test it. I’ve only recently begun to hear whispers of my people again, but my healing factor is mostly back, so I think I’m immortal again? But I’d rather wait until the connection comes back completely.”

There was silence among the nations. “You mean you could still potentially die, die? Like, for real?” America echoed.

“Yes?” Italy answered it like a question.

“Okay, so that’s two down, and three to go.” Feliciano cut through their conversation. Apparently, while they’d been talking, the memory had decided to continue.

Feliciano stood above the body of a man with the Cursed Tattoo on his upper arm. From the looks of it, the Italian had tortured the man first. A moment later, the body disintegrated until nothing but a pile of ash remained. Even the bones were gone.

“I’ll never get used to this bullshit.” Feliciano shook his head. “Jarvis.”

“Yes, sir?”

“I need to know where the other three are… and hack the security systems in this country, too. Keep an eye out for the remaining targets, but don’t let the government find or trace you.”

“Of course, sir. And might I suggest you get a good meal in you? May I remind you that you are mortal, sir, and require food to survive. You haven’t eaten in a week, and that injury is only going to get worse the longer you deprive your body of nutrients.”

“Ancients, you sound like my mother.” Feliciano sighed, shaking his head, even as his hand went to grip his side tenderly. He peeked under the bandages to show a badly healing and rather infected stab wound. “Fine. You win, I’ll go steal some food or some shit.”

Feliciano made his way through the back alleyways of New York City, strolling through the filthy grimy shadow of the underworld like it was a stroll through the park. Perhaps the most unnerving thing for the nations was the fact that the shady characters in the crevices of this domain watched Feli with a wary eye, and stayed their blades.

They didn’t attack. They were almost afraid of the older man. Like they knew he’d show them no mercy if they were stupid enough to stand in his way.

Feli went right into a grubby looking bar, and sat down on the stool. “Jerry, it’s been a while.”

“Ah, Rogue. I haven’t seen you in here for a bit.”

“Rogue?” Romano asked, raising an eyebrow. “Like that X-Men character from Alfred’s comics?”

“I couldn’t very well go by my name. They knew that. And as far as anyone knew, Feliciano Vargas was in Germany, about to take a plane to Japan.” Italy shrugged. “Plus, I didn’t want to paint myself as Italian, here. Hence the Japanese accent I’m using.”

“Japanese… Tch. You’re just speaking in the same dialect we used in the future.” Japan pointed out. “Yes, it’s technically Japanese, but in this time, it sounds too strange to really pin down to any one nation.”

“Which is why it’s perfect! Nobody would be able to tell where I’m from, or when I’m from.” Italy grinned.

“You’re unbelievable.” England shook his head fondly.

“More information?” Jerry asked, setting down the glass he’d finished drying.

“No, actually, I’m here for food, this time.” Feli rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. “My friend finally convinced me to put something in my body.”

“I’m surprised you actually have friends, Rogue.” A woman with long wavy black hair said as she took a seat beside Feli. She had dark red eyes and beautifully tanned skin. She wore a knee-length black dress that showed off her assets nicely. It was just long enough to hide the pistols Feliciano knew she kept strapped to her upper thighs.

“Ah, Desiree, I haven’t seen you for a few weeks. Where’ve you been?” Feli ordered a couple of drinks and slid one to her.

“Oh, I’ve been around. A model here, a politician there, you know how the business is.” She smirked, accepting the drink.

Jerry set down a plate of food for them both, and raised an irritated eyebrow at Feli. “Your tab, again?”

“I swear I’ll pay it.”

“That’s what everyone says.” Jerry sighed. “You swear you’ll pay by March, so if you don’t, then I’ll freeze your tab.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Feli waved him off. “Thanks for the food.”

“Business?” Germany tilted his head.

“You were a mercenary?” America gawked, finally recognizing the place.

“Yep. It was the best way to get the information I wanted, and kill people without having to explain myself too much. Plus, it gave me connections that helped me keep a low profile.”

“So you weren’t sleeping under bridges anymore?” Romano asked hopefully.

“Not usually.” Italy shrugged. “I didn’t go back to Jerry’s place often, though.”

“You need a room for the night?” Jerry asked.

“And some medical supplies if you can spare ‘em.” Feli winced, and Desiree looked at him with narrowed eyes.

“I swear you’ll get yourself killed one of these days. For someone who’s so damn informed, you’re too reckless.” She scoffed.

“Unless you’re going to help me, shut the fuck up.” Feli glared.

“Well, since you’ve so kindly given me the invitation, I think I will. Damn old man.”

“Respect your fucking elders.” Feli barked out, angrily stabbing his steak with his fork.

“Maybe when they’ve earned my respect.”

“I’ve got many times more kills than you, child, so watch it.”

“Tch. Throwing around your goddamned kill count.”

“Just because you’re jealous.” Feli teased, a smirk gracing his features.

“You know, if you were just a decade or so younger, I might actually find you handsome.” She mused.

“Sorry, sweetie, but as beautiful as you are, my heart belongs to someone already.”

“Shame.” Desiree shrugged and finished her drink.

“Hey, Rogue~! You’re still kickin!” A younger man grinned, wrapping an arm around the disgruntled Italian.

He was on the shorter side, probably around five foot six or so, with short spiky blond hair and bright shining green eyes. He wore a suit and bowtie, which was lightly splattered with blood.

“Oh, so you’re here.” Feli deadpanned.

“Come on, is that any way to speak to your friend?” The man ruffled Feli’s hair, causing said brunette to shoo his hand away with no small amount of irritation.

“We’re not friends.” Feli corrected. “We’re coworkers.”

“Someone’s grouchy~”

“Yeah, well this grouchy old man is going to shove a 22 up your—”

“All right, boys, that’s enough.” Desiree interrupted. “Rogue is hurt, so we’re going to treat the injury that he’s likely let alone for too long upstairs. If you’re coming, Falcon, then make yourself useful and grab that first-aid kit in the corner.”

“Geez, you were a dick.” America noted.

“I was trying not to let anyone close to me. Mortal or not, I still don’t age like humans. Plus in this line of business, they could drop dead any day.” Italy shook his head. “I was being an ass to try to keep them away from me, but it had the opposite effect with those two.”

“We could tell.” England responded dryly, though he’d admit it was fairly interesting to watch the normally friendly Italian act so coarsely.

The memory faded to show Feliciano sitting on the edge of the bed. He held up one side of his shirt as Desiree looked at his infected wound with a sour face. Falcon winced at the injury.

“Geez, man. You’ve gotta take better care of yourself!” Falcon commented.

“I don’t want to hear that from you of all people.”

“Okay, so I drove the car off the cliff one time!”

“And you crashed that fighter jet you stole. On purpose.”

“I mean, we had to kill the guy!”

“We could’ve just poisoned him, you know! No need to steal a fucking plane and crash it into him!”

“I wanted to make sure he was dead.” Falcon defended.

“Then stab him, or something. Watch the life drain from his eyes and feel his pulse stop beneath your fingertips.” Feli smirked as Falcon paled a bit. “You’re such a kid.”

“Is that a bad thing? He’s not as deep into this as we are.” Desiree commented casually as she cleaned out Feli’s wound. The older man didn’t even wince.

“Doesn’t that hurt?” Falcon looked green.

“I’ve had worse.” Feli shrugged, only to get whacked on the shoulder by Desiree.

“Stop moving or I’ll fuck this up. I need to stitch this bitch.”

“Sorry.” Feli sighed.

“Take off your shirt.” Desiree ordered, getting out the needed supplies.

“You won’t like what you see.” Feli warned.

“Like I give a damn, Rogue. Stop being a bitch about it, and take it off.”

“Spicy~” Feli teased before taking off his shirt.

Falcon stared at the hole in his side, where the damage from the Initial Blast had been done with a pale greenish face. Even Desiree gasped.

“Holy shit… what the hell happened?” She breathed, eyes taking in countless scars, though the one to his side was undoubtedly the most horrific.

“None of your goddamned business.” Feli replied tersely. “Now are you going to stitch me up, or make me do it myself?”

“I’m getting to it… Jesus. Just give me a minute to process this, would ya? Even in our field, people don’t usually survive… that.”

“I’m just unlucky, I suppose.” Feli shrugged.

“I… damn.” Falcon was sitting in a chair, now. “How the fuck did you survive that?”

“How did you survive a twenty foot fall off a goddamned cliff?” Feli raised an eyebrow with a bland expression. “I don’t ask you personal shit, so don’t ask me personal shit.”

“R-right. Sorry.”

“Go easy on him, Rogue. He’s just a baby.” Desiree smirked as she teased Falcon.

“I’m nineteen!” Falcon denied.

“Baby~” Feli and Desiree cooed in sync.

“You’ve only been in the business for a year and a half, kid. Don’t rush it—the goal is to eventually get out of this kind of work.” Feli advised. “Tch, ow.” Feli shot Desiree a glare as she pulled the stitches too tight.

“Shut up, it’s just a little blood.” She rolled her eyes. “He’s right, though. We’ve all got our reasons for being here, but it’s not a career. This is rock bottom, kid. You don’t want to stay here. If you do, you’ll die young, or end up on death row.”

“I have reasons to be here, too.” His eyes shone with determination. “I’m not here for fun and games, you know.”

“Revenge isn’t all it’s chocked up to be.” Feliciano’s voice was quiet and carried a weight of experience.

“The fuck do you know.” He glared. “What have you lost?!”

“Falcon!” Desiree’s tone was sharp, and the kid instantly realized he crossed a line.

Feliciano, on the other hand, looked down. His bangs shadowed his eyes, making his expression unreadable. Then, he gave a low, humorless chuckle. “What haven’t I lost? Family. Friends. Loved ones.” Feli looked back up, golden eyes swimming in shadows of grief and loss and anger. Falcon was momentarily taken aback before he regained his spark of anger.

“Don’t you want vengeance, too?! Isn’t that why you’re doing this?”

“No. I’m angry, yes. Of course I want revenge. But I’m doing this for an entirely different reason, kid. Because they don’t deserve to go through what I went through. Nobody does. Maybe when you’re older, you’ll understand…” Feliciano sighed, putting his shirt back on with a nod of thanks to a surprisingly quiet Desiree. “Word of advice from an old man, kid… Don’t let your anger consume you. Whatever you’ve lost… Whoever you’ve lost… Once you give in to that anger, you lose whatever it was that made you… you. And in doing so, you lose the last connection you have to them—yourself.”

Feliciano sighed as he flopped back into the mattress. “Now get. I’m going to bed, and I am not sharing this room with either of you two.”

With that, the scene faded away.