Hetalia - Axis Powers Fan Fiction ❯ Memories of Old ❯ Chapter 5: Asher ( Chapter 5 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

The memory changed again, this time, it was late summer, and Feliciano—who was looking much healthier much to everyone's relief—and Lovino were sleeping together in one of the two beds in their bedroom.

“Vino, Felice! Time to wake up! Breakfast's ready, and I have a surprise for you!” Emma called from the kitchen. The two boys sleepily rubbed their eyes and stretched, before blinking at each other and breaking out into wide grins.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” They cried to each other, embracing the other in a hug.

“Ve~ I know this memory!” I said happily, remembering the surprise.

“Si! I was wondering if we'd see this one.” Romano grinned, also sounding strangely upbeat.

“It was our 30th birthday. The last memory was when we were 25.” I said.

“Oh… You're aging so quickly, though…” England pointed out; his eyebrows converging into one big fuzzy mass in the center of his forehead, making me chuckle a bit.

“We aged much faster before we connected with our nation. In fact, we were about this age physically when our nation connected.” I said, gesturing to our current bodies.

“Yeah, a fucking pain in the ass that was. Young adult one moment, and a toddler the next! I fucking shrank! SHRANK!” Romano complained. “Do you know how long it took us to get our coordination right again?! Do you?! And don't even get me started on having to go through puberty again!” Romano yelled.

“Ve~ Lovi~ Calm down, Viva!” Whoops, there goes the Viva tic again…

“Che… Fucking… Wait, where'd the Viva come from?” Romano asked.

“Ve~ I don't remember… It just pops out sometimes~” I covered.

“Hmm… Weird… Hope I don't develop one…”

“You already have—you `che'.” I pointed out.

“Ah, go fuck off.” He muttered playfully.

“Ve~ You first~” I counter. Before we could start our bantering, our younger counterparts rushed into the kitchen, and greeted their mother, who was waiting patiently with three plates of breakfast.

“I made your favorite~” She said, “Happy Birthday, boys. You'll get your present when you finish eating.”

The two boys ate in record time—while still somehow managing to enjoy their food—before zooming back up to their mother.

“We have a present this year!? What is it?!” Lovino asked, excited.

“Aw~ Roma~ You're so cute~!” Spain said, trying to hug Romano, only for Romano to dodge and move to my other side.

“Che. I told you, fucking Tomato Bastard… Don't call me that!”

“Yeah, momma~ What is it?! Is it another art tool?!” Feliciano asked, also excited.

“Just close your eyes, okay?” The twins obeyed, as Emma walked out of the room to retrieve the gift. She came back in leading… something. The nations couldn't see because of the furniture in the way.

“Okay, boys. Open your eyes.” She stated, as the twins' eyes flew open.

“WOW~!” They cried in joy, as they were greeted with the sight of a small, grey wolf pup.

The puppy yipped happily, at the sight of the twins, and jumped on them, licking their faces.

“Is he ours?!” Lovino asked excitedly.

“Yes, but you have to take care of him yourselves, all right? Teach him to hunt, feed him, and wash him. You also need to make sure he goes to the bathroom outside.” Emma said, a smile playing on her lips.

“YES! Thank you Mom!” The boys cried out.

“Vino? What are we going to name him?” Feliciano pointed out.

“Oh, um… hmm….” Lovino looked at the pup with a critical gaze. The puppy, eager to play, couldn't sit still, and kept running around the twins.

“That is one high-energy pup.” Germany said. As one who raised dogs all his life, he'd seen many high-energy pups, but this one seemed absolutely wired. Perhaps it was American…

“Ve~ He is a wild wolf pup, you know. His mother and siblings were mauled by a bear and made into dinner. Mother found him and healed him up, while surrounding him with our scents. He became attached to us immediately.” I explained.

“Makes sense.” Prussia said with a nod.

“How about Fluffball?” Lovino proposed. The nations shot Romano an odd look. “Fluffball? Really?” Spain asked.

“No? Crimson Fireball of Doom?” Lovino tried again. The nations gave Romano a look.

“I wasn't too good at picking out names, okay?” Romano defended.

“We could tell…” England trailed off.

“Ve~ I think we can do better.” Feliciano said also giving Lovino a look. “Look at his fur color. It's like ash…” At the last word, the puppy paused in his running to look at Feliciano with deep sapphire blue eyes that stood out brilliantly against his grey-white ash colored fur.

“Ash? You like that name? It's a little plain, though…”

“Ash…ette?” Lovino tried.

“It's a male.” Emma said, amused.

“Oh… How about Ashetto, then?”

“Too long… How about Asheo~!” Feliciano tried. The pup sneezed and shook its head.

“No, then… how about Asher?” Lovino tried again. The pup looked at the twins and yipped happily.

“Asher it is, then. Welcome to the family, Asher~” Feliciano grinned. The pup, now named Asher, ran to the young boy and covered his face in slobber.

“ACK! VINO HELP~!” Feliciano cried, trying to escape the wet tongue. But Lovino was too busy laughing his ass off.

The memory shifted to the twins playing with Asher. Well, Feliciano was playing with Asher… Lovino was chasing the poor pup. “Come back here! I just want to pull your tail a bit! Does it come off? Asher~” Lovino continued, chasing the pup around.

“Ve! Don't hurt him! Of course his tail doesn't come off! Does your arm come off?!” Feliciano called. He attempted to chase after Lovino and Asher, but quickly ran out of breath. Lovino noticed immediately, and stopped his pursuit. Asher, who'd been having fun being chased by Lovino, also came, sensing something wrong.

“Ve… I'm fine, just a little tired.” Feliciano tried pushing his brother away, but Lovino persisted, laying his hand on his brother's forehead. “You feel kinda warm. I'm taking you back inside! Momma'll make you better! We don't want you getting sick again.” Lovino said firmly, leading his twin inside by the wrist, making sure not to drag him too fast.

“Ve… Okay.” Feliciano said disappointed that his fun was over for the day.

“Were you okay, Mon Cher?” France asked, worried.

“Ve~ I was fine. Like we told you earlier, my immune system was pathetic when I was a child. I would get sick all the time. I'd usually just get little fevers and sneezes and whatnot, but sometimes I'd get really sick… But it was something we were used to. I actually started to develop a stronger immune system in the decades leading up to us finally connecting to our nation.” I said, before the next memory came up.

The memory started with Lovino and Feliciano, each one looking about 8, sitting on the side of the road in the nearby village. Feliciano looked rather bored, and was playing with a fully grown Asher—who was larger than the child—while Lovino was sitting with his head resting on his hands, staring off into space with a dreamy look in his eyes.

“I'm telling you, Feli~ She's perfect!” Lovino started. Feliciano rolled his eyes; he'd heard it many times before.

“Si, si.” Feliciano muttered, paying more attention to Asher.

“I mean it! She's beautiful, smart, beautiful, funny, beautiful, caring, did I mention that she's beautiful?”

“Lovi~ Someone's got their first crush~!” Spain cried out in happiness.

“OI! Shut up! She turned out to be a bitch, anyways, so drop it.” Romano said, disgusted with his past self.

“Ve~ Vino, it's okay. It wasn't your fault.”

“No, it was mine. I was wrong to blame it on you. I'm so sorry, Felice… I just…” Romano shook his head, stopping our whispered conversation before the others could take notice.

“Look! There she is!” Lovino said, cutting himself off mid-sentence. The nations followed his gaze to a young, 13-year-old girl with long brown hair, and brown eyes. She was smiling happily as she spoke with her friends.

“Liana~” Lovino sighed in happiness.

“Into older girls, huh?” Spain asked jokingly.

“Technically he's much older than her, so he's into younger girls.” France pointed out.

“Seriously, shut up.” Romano warned. They wisely dropped the teasing.

“Can we go home, now? I don't want that bastard Marks and his gang to show up…” Feliciano trailed off nervously.

“Marks?” England asked. The nations were a bit taken aback by Feliciano's cursing; he was so young, and the Feliciano that they knew wouldn't cuss like this. What happened?

“The town bully. He really had it out for Veneziano… I'm sorry to say I didn't do much to help.” Romano muttered the last part quietly.

“It's okay, Lovi~ Most of the children in the village had heard that I was a `sickly child'. They stayed far away from me. I was the most popular punching bag in the village…” I admitted. Ve… How I wish I could fight him now. I'd knock his lights out with a flick of a finger! Ha!

Lovino ignored his little brother, waiting until Liana and her friends were out of sight before standing up and brushing himself off. Feliciano nervously did the same.

“Can we go now?” Feliciano tried again.

“Yeah, sure.” Lovino said, as the brothers started walking home.

“HEY! SICKO!” A boy, about 15, cried as he threw rocks at the twins. Feliciano visibly flinched.

“Don't look at him; just ignore him.” Lovino advised, as he calmly continued walking. A few of the rocks hit Feliciano in the back of the head. A few tears welled up in his eyes, but he made no move to do anything but continue to walk home with his brother.

“Sickey~ Misfit~ Bastard~ Come on! Are you deaf as well as dumb? Or are you just retarded?! Huh? Come on!” The boy, Marks, continued.

Ignore him.” Lovino pressed, when Feliciano looked like he was going to retort.

The nations watched in surprise, expecting Lovino to curse out the human child who had the nerve to threaten his younger brother. All the nations knew that I was untouchable territory so long as Romano was around. You mess with one twin, you mess with both. And if someone hurt me, Romano was sure to come after them with the force, grace, and fatal accuracy of the Mafioso.

They'd always assumed it was this way. But it wasn't. Romano had to warm up to me. At this point, he was only accepting of my presence and conversation. He wasn't trying to kill me anymore, and didn't want me dead, but he also wouldn't go out of his way to protect me if he believed I could handle it myself. At this point, he still put himself before famiglia. He would soon learn better—we both would. It was this experience that made us create the first, and most important founding rule of the Mafia.

By the time Feliciano and Lovino got home, Feliciano was in tears, holding his undoubtedly bruised head, and nursing his nearly non-existent pride.

“Shut up! It doesn't hurt that much! They're just sticks and rocks!” Lovino yelled at his brother. Feliciano, not wanting to go back to being on bad terms with his twin, shut up, having to visibly bite his lip hard to stop his wailing, though his tears were still flowing.

“God! I'm such a bastard!” Romano yelled at himself. “DAMNIT! LISTEN TO YOUR FUCKING FRATELLINO WHEN HE SPEAKS!” He yelled, trying to get through to his younger self.

“Vino… Stop it. What's past is past; there's no changing it now.” I said. The others looked ready to say something, but I stopped them with a well-placed Russia-like glare. There was no way I'd let them yell at my fratello for this. No way. He beat himself up enough over it.

“Umm… Romano…? Can… Can I ask you something…?” Feliciano asked in a small voice.

“Hm? Yeah, sure. Speak up so I can hear you, though.” Lovino said distractedly, too busy putting on his night-clothes to give his fratellino his full attention.

“Um… that girl, Liana... I think—”

“Isn't she just perfect?! I'm gonna make her my wife, some day! Then we'll be happy forever!” Lovino cut him off.

“I think it's a bad idea to—”

“I mean she's absolutely perfect! I can't find a fault about her~!”

“She bullies others, including me…” Feliciano pointed out, “but what I wanted to tell you is that you're imm—”

“Yeah, yeah, so she has a few quirks, but so does everybody! I used to bully you, right? Surely I can teach her to show her kindness more often! We're meant to be~! I just know it! I mean—”

YOU'RE IMMORTAL!” Feliciano finally shouted, tired of getting cut off. Lovino stopped, shocked that his timid brother cut him off. Feliciano used his shock to finally make his point. “I know you really, really like her, but you can never be together! You're immortal. She's not. You're a nation. She's human. She'll grow old and die, and you won't. She's already 13, and you're still 8. You'll stay 8 for decades before you can finally age to 9. How long do you think it'll be before you're 13? She'll be long dead by then! It just won't work. What I'm the most scared of, is that she'll say yes, and then leave you when she finds out, or that you'll be forced to watch her grow old and die… Please… Please, fratello… I don't want to watch you go through that… I can't…”

The nations sobered when they heard Feliciano's speech. Many of the nations had made the mistake of loving a human. France, England, Japan, China, America, Russia, even Canada. Every nation has at least befriended a human at some point. If they weren't rejected for their immortality, then they were rejected by time or bad fortune.

“Wha?! What are you talking about?! Don't be silly! Surely, there's a way to make her immortal, too! If I love her enough, she'll have to become a nation! She'll have to!” Lovino said.

“Oh, Roma…” Spain sighed. He hated watching his charge like this… Seeing him love and lose… It hurt them all, because they could all relate on some level.

Don't call me that.” Romano's voice held a venom in it this time. Spain decided that maybe he should heed his younger charge's warning, and lay off the nickname for a bit.

“There isn't.” Feliciano said firmly. “I know you want to, but wouldn't it be easier for you both if you just kept your distance? Surely you could—”

“Keep our distance?! The FUCK?! NO! I love her! She loves me! I can see it! I know! I just… Need to tell her.”

“Please! Listen to reason! She'll die!” Feliciano reminded him harshly, needing him to understand.

“NO! What?! What would you know about love?! You're hardly even in the village! You're always sick! Because I look like you, the kids in the village hate me. You'd better pray that she doesn't reject me because of you.” Lovino stated with a menacing glare. He then climbed into bed, muttering to himself. He was in his own little world, not paying any attention to his brother. Feliciano had this incredibly hurt look on his face.

“I'm so sorry, Vino… I… I'll try to be better for you…” He whispered sadly, before turning and climbing into the separate bed on the other side of the room. He shivered under his blanket, reaching for something before realizing it wasn't there. His twin was in another bed… Another world. A world that he couldn't reach… A world he wasn't sure he wanted to reach.

“Vino…” He whispered sadly, “I just don't want you to hurt…”