Hetalia - Axis Powers Fan Fiction ❯ Memories of Old ❯ Chapter 2: The First Memory ( Chapter 2 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
When we finally opened our eyes, we found that we were no longer underneath the table. We weren't even in the building anymore! We were in a spacious field covered in an untouched layer of pure white snow. It was silent.
I sat up straighter, warily, expecting my head to bump the table. When it didn't, I cautiously stood up, and found that we, indeed, were no longer in the destroyed Meeting Room. The others soon followed my example, standing up and stretching. It was then that everyone started to talk about where we were and what happened.
“Don't look at me! I didn't cast that spell! The spell I was casting was a simple communication spell to tell the others where we were and request help. I'll look in my spell book to see if it might clue me in on where we ended up, though.” England said, thumbing through his little book of spells and incantations.
“Ah! I am not feeling the cold, da?” Russia said, causing us all to realize that we weren't cold. In fact, we weren't even making footprints in the snow! America reached for a tree nearby, only for his hand to pass through it.
“AHHH! I'm a GHOST!!” He cried, clinging to Canada.
I then saw something… an old tree. I cautiously walked forward for a better look. When I saw what was etched into it, I froze; my stomach dropped. My heart was beating rapidly in my throat as my blood turned to ice in my veins. “V-Vino…?” I called out, using the sacred nickname our mother used to call Romano. I only used it when I was truly terrified or in desperate need of his comfort.
Immediately, Romano was at my side, not even bothering to hide his concern. I didn't spare him a glance, though, my were eyes glued to the etchings in the tree.
“What is it?! Are you hurt? Are you okay? Do you feel—”
“Look.” I cut him off, pointing to the tree-trunk with a shaking hand, leaning on Romano for support.
There, etched in the tree was a heart with the initials “E. F.” and “C. V.” Romano froze like me.
“H-how? Felice…” He rasped out, beyond shocked. The fact that he was using Mother's nickname for me proved this, as he only used it when he was truly scared. “This tree was cut down over two thousand years ago…”
My eyes widened in realization. “Vino… I think… Doesn't this clearing look familiar?” His eyes widened in realization as well.
During some point, the group migrated over to us. “Dudes, what's up? You look like you just saw a ghost or something!” America said.
“Maybe we have…” Romano whispered, still staring at the carving in the tree. He reached his hand out, only for it to pass through the trunk.
“Mon Cher! Are you okay?! You look as pale as the Italie twins!” France cried out, looking at England who was staring at his spell book in shock, his face a sheet-white color that almost blended into the snow.
“I… I found the spell… There's no way I could've cast this… It hasn't an incantation, and is an intent-only spell. You have to have known that it exists in order to cast it… But…”
“Just spit it out, already, aru!” China interrupted impatiently, but England didn't seem to care. He looked up at me and Romano; to this day, I've never seen him look so apologetic.
“It shows the memories of the person who was hit by the spell…” He stated.
“Wh…what?!” Romano and I cried out in shock. It would explain the field, the tree, why we couldn't touch anything, and why our nation felt so far away… But…
“Vino… I'm scared… I don't want them to know…” I muttered to my fratello, who pulled me into a one-armed hug.
“I know… They won't leave you, you know… I'll always be here, Felice… And if they do leave you, I'll put the largest Hit in history on them.” He said, making my lips twitch in a small smile.
“Reverse it!” America cried out, his strong sense of justice wouldn't let him watch something so private. Not without a fight, at least.
“I can't!” England snapped, frustrated. “I didn't cast the spell, and even if I did, there's no way to reverse it once its target is hit!” He sighed in defeat. “The only way out of this is to watch the memories… All of them…”
“Do… Do we have to?” I asked in a small voice. I really didn't want them to know my past; it's private! And there were things in there that even Romano didn't know about!
“I… I'm sorry. If there was any way…” England trailed off. In fact, all the nations looked distinctly uncomfortable.
Being immortal brings a sense of clarity to most nations. Everyone has skeletons in the closet. Everyone has secrets they don't want anyone to know, ever. I'm no exception. I never was, and never will be.
“Then I suppose there's no choice…” I sigh in defeat, taking a few deep breaths to try to calm myself.
“If any of you bastards so much as glare at my fratellino…” Romano let the threat hang in the air, but unlike when he usually threatens nations—which is usually just to keep up his fake `tough-guy' act—there was an undertone to his voice that they'd never heard before. It was the same tone that he used in the Mafioso when he meant business.
Romano and I turned back to look at the Carved Tree. “This is where we were born.” I stated, sighing heavily. “Romano and I will explain most of the stuff going on, so you don't get too confused. If you're going to know, you might as well know the facts instead of coming up with crazy scenarios later.”
They nodded, looking a bit more comfortable now that they `had my permission' to watch the memories, but nobody looked particularly happy.
“If you don't mind my asking, where are we?” Japan asked tentatively, not recognizing the area.
“We're near the Tiber River.” Romano said; looking off to the West, where we knew the river lay. “The year, is…” he hesitated for a moment. I nodded my head, encouraging him to continue, as I gripped his arm, giving him the support that only physical contact between twins could. “It's 753 B.C.”
Multiple cries of “What?!” in various languages sounded throughout the clearing. “You're older than me?!” Japan cried out uncharacteristically, more shocked about our true age than any of the other nations. After all, I'd always acted younger than even Germany. Of course they'd all believe us to be young and naïve.
“We were a premature birth. We came into this world long before we were supposed to. We came into existence before our nation even existed.” I said, further shocking the nations.
“In all my 4,000 years… I've never heard of such a thing happening, aru…” China said numbly, still trying to register the information.
Before any more could be said, there was a bright flash of white light right below the Carved Tree. When the light died down, there were two infants lying in a snowdrift wrapped in white blankets. The infants looked only days old at most.
With a shock, the others realized that those two infants were us. Nations had always appeared as toddlers or children—never infants.
“But! How...?!” England stuttered out. Nobody seemed to be able to form a coherent sentence. The infants, uncomfortable in the cold, started to cry loudly.
A tawny Italian wolf silently stalked into the clearing to investigate the source of the noise. The nations froze, forgetting that the wolf couldn't see them. She made her way over to the infants, and most of the nations looked ready to run to our infant-selves' aid. She sniffed them for a bit, before curling herself around them, keeping them warm as best she could. She nuzzled them a bit as they finally calmed down and opened their eyes for the first time. Lovino's eyes were a sharp green with golden specks, while Feliciano's eyes (well my past self, but I'll just refer to our past selves by our human names to avoid confusion) were molten gold all the way through. They looked up at the she-wolf, and innocently reached out and grabbed her fur. She licked their hands in an almost affectionate way. At some point, some curious foxes wandered by, and the she-wolf chased them off, protecting the young infants from becoming an easy meal.
“Huh… I wonder if we would've survived that? I mean, we weren't full nations yet; our country didn't even exist!” I wondered aloud, disturbing a few nations with how carelessly I spoke about permanent death.
“How should I know?” Romano replied easily.
“I'm just glad you're both safe.” Spain said with a sigh of relief once the foxes were gone. Japan and Germany nodded their heads in agreement.
“I wonder… Would the legend of Romulus and his brother being suckled by a she-wolf have anything to do with you two?” England asked.
“Ve~ We're the reason it was started. Rumors got around town that we were suckled by a she-wolf until… we were found. Anyways, with them hearing me call Vino, Romano, at least once, which sounds similar to Rome and Romulus, it must've gotten mixed up through time. It's kinda funny, actually.” I said. Romano squeezed my arm comfortingly, still keeping me wrapped in a hug. My usage of his nickname didn't escape him. He knew… He knew I was scared… I didn't want them to know… To know that I wasn't a full nation. Neither of us were.
After what seemed like about 15-20 minutes—and was probably hours in the memory judging by the sun's position—Romano and I heard the distinct sound of snow crunching underfoot. By this point, the infant twins were asleep, as the she-wolf had suckled them when they'd cried out in hunger earlier.
We looked in the direction of the sound, along with the she-wolf. It took nearly everything Romano and I had to not burst out in tears when we saw her.
A young woman, in her early 30's, stumbled through the snow. Her medium-length light brown hair and hazel eyes shined in the midday sun. She stopped when she caught sight of the wolf, clearly afraid.
Out of pure instinct, Romano and I fell into defensive stances, ready to defend her at a moment's notice, before remembering that this was a memory, and that we couldn't change anything. The others noticed our strange behavior, but didn't say anything… yet.
“Shhh… Be still, oh free one.” She said in a rich, warm voice that brought tears to my eyes. Romano was nearly in tears as well. How many times had we wished to hear this voice again? Prayed for it? To think it would come from a silly spell… But she couldn't see us… She couldn't touch us… We weren't really there. And that only made me want to cry more.
The wolf, on the other hand, had gotten up and stood in front of the infants protectively, as she stared at the woman with a wary gaze. Something sparked in the woman's eyes, as she took another step forward, despite the growling she-wolf.
“Is that woman crazy?! She's gonna get eaten!” America cried out.
“Hey! Watch it! Don't you dare speak about her that way!” Romano growled out, almost sounding like a wolf himself. America took a step back in surprise, not expecting such a harsh reaction from Romano. I was even glaring at America a bit, surprising the nations as well. Luckily, America did the intelligent thing and apologized and backed down.
Apparently, the wolf had wanted this reaction from the woman, for she backed down, giving the woman a long stare, as if trying to convey a message of some kind, before running off in the direction she came from leaving the human woman with the infant twin nations, who had woken up at the she-wolf's departure.
Taking immediate notice of the now crying twins, the woman rushed to them and gently picked them up in her arms, cradling them lovingly while looking around for signs of anyone else.
“Shhh, shhh, it's alright, now. You're safe. Where're your parents? Are they dead? Oh, you poor things. It's alright, I've got you now.” She hummed a bit as the twins finally calmed down, looking up at the woman curiously, even reaching out for a few strands of loose hair. “Now aren't you precious? Tell you what; you can live with me from now on. You'll need names, though. Let's see… Hmm… For the one with green eyes… how about Lovino, after my father? Your eyes remind me of him. And the one with golden eyes… you can be Feliciano, after my maiden name, Felicia. Yes, Feliciano and Lovino Vargas. That sounds wonderful. Now, you must be hungry. How about I feed you some milk when we get home? Lucky for you, I'm not dry yet.” She explained to the oblivious twins as she walked back towards the river.
“This,” I start, trying to keep my voice from trembling, “Is Emma… Our mother.” A realization seemed to dawn on the nations. It suddenly made sense, why we were so protective of this human woman, and why we were acting so strangely around her. Very few nations ever had a mother figure, let alone an actual mother. America, Mexico, and Canada were lucky to have Native America, and Egypt was lucky to have Ancient Egypt. Romano and I were lucky to have Emma. “She's a 32-year-old widow, who recently lost her husband and newborn child. She found us in the snow, and took us in as her own, even after she found out about what we were.” I explained, as Romano was too emotional to speak, staring off after our mother.