Hetalia - Axis Powers Fan Fiction ❯ Memories of Old ❯ Chapter 6: A Brother's Oath ( Chapter 6 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
The next memory opened up to show the two boys in the village once more. Lovino was watching Liana again, but she seemed to be 14 now instead of 13.
“A year has passed since the last memory.” I said, shivering slightly. I remembered this one clearly. This was the start of the mafia, in a way. It was the event that jumpstarted the events that would lead to the birth of its first and most basic unbreakable rule—Famiglia Before All.
Romano also paled greatly as he recognized this memory. “Ve~ Just so you guys know, Vino's going to do something incredibly stupid here and in the next memory or two. Do not blame him or get mad at him. He's already beaten himself up enough over it, and he doesn't need any help with that. Remember; this happened over two thousand years ago. I may hold a grudge like no tomorrow, but I've long since forgiven him.”
“Wait, you hold grudges?!” England asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Felice can hold a grudge that makes the rivalry between you and France, or even Russia and America look like child's play. His shit list is one of the hardest to get on—you have to do something beyond devastating to get on it—but it's even harder to get off. I was on it for 150 years, and I'm his brother. Even as a child, he could hold a grudge. It took him 80 years to forgive and forget about Marks and his gang. That was long after they died, too.” Romano explained. Some of the nations blanched.
“I'll just tell you now; two people are on my shit list right now.” I chirped happily, enjoying seeing them pale even further. “One of you likely knows who you are, and if you don't it'll surely come up in the memories later. The other…? It's whoever cast this spell. I'm fairly sure it wasn't you, England, so you're safe for now.”
England let out a breath of relief. He'd seen me angry before. It was during 9/11. I was livid at what happened to America. England happened to be in the vicinity, and saw me mad. He'd steered clear of me for a few decades after that. I swear he actually pissed himself! He looked like we do when presented with his cooking. Ha!
“Oh! There she is! I'm going to tell her!” Lovino said. “I'm going to tell her! Tomorrow!” He continued.
“Roma…” Feliciano sighed, before giving his twin a sad smile, and pushing him gently in the direction of the girl. “Tell her now, or you'll regret it forever. We're going to have to move in a few months again, you know. You'll likely never see her again.” Lovino looked back at his brother in surprise.
“I thought you were against this?” He asked suspiciously, not taking his eyes off Liana.
“I am. But if it makes you happy, even for a short while, then I'll support you in whatever you do.” Feliciano said, that sad smile still on his face.
“Grazie.” Lovino said, before speeding off towards his crush with a determined look on his face.
“And I'll be here to pick up the pieces when you break.” Feliciano whispered to himself, staring off after his brother.
“Hey! Freak!” A familiar voice called. Marks and his group swaggered up to Feliciano. They looked 16 now, and some of them had alcohol in their hands. The nations stiffened. With Lovino distracted by the girl, there was nobody to protect Feliciano.
Feliciano seemed to realize this, too, for he started shaking like a leaf. “H-hey Marks… I heard about your engagement to Liana… Congratulations…” Feliciano stuttered.
“I couldn't bring myself to tell Romano… I tried to bring it up multiple times, but he wouldn't listen. So I finally decided to let her tell him herself.” I explained.
“Yeah. She's a good catch. She'll make me some good sons. I hear your brother likes her, though. Doesn't he know she's mine? He can't touch my property without my permission.” Marks said, taking another swig of his drink. Feliciano seemed to realize just how dangerous the situation was, and took a step back.
“I-I know! She's telling him now! I swear!” Feliciano quickly blurted out.
“Oh? Well, that solves one issue, then.” Without warning, he swung a hard punch and hit Feliciano in the face with a loud CRACK! Feliciano fell to the ground, his nose broken.
The nations started yelling indignantly. While they may have seen it coming, they didn't want to see it happen. And watching a 16-year-old beating up an 8-year-old? It was sickening.
“I'm sorry!” Feliciano cried out, not knowing what he was apologizing for, but knowing that he must've done something to anger the bully.
“Heheheh~ What a great stress-reliever! Some of the villagers say that I'm too angry. So I came up with the perfect solution! I can beat you black and blue to get rid of my anger.” He gave a nasty, feral grin, and started kicking the downed Feliciano in the abdomen.
“STOP!” China, among other nations, yelled. They could hear Feliciano's ribs cracking.
Feliciano's cries of pain were drowned out by the bullies' laughter. It seemed like hours. It may have been. Lovino finally started wandering back into the memory, before stopping a few feet away from the whole fiasco. He looked rather shocked at the bullies stomping on and kicking his brother, who lay in a quivering heap in the road, bloodied and bruised.
Feliciano looked at Lovino through a thick black eye, and reached out a hand towards him. “V-Vi-no… H-help…” He cried weakly, his voice hoarse from screaming and crying. He just barely blocked a kick to his neck with his other arm.
Lovino, however, only glared at Feliciano coldly, before spitting on the ground near his face and walking away. Not once did he glance back, even when Feliciano continued to cry out to him desperately.
“Aww~ What'sa matter? Yooouuur broootherrrrr leeftttuuuuu?” Marks slurred, obviously drunk, as he stomped viciously on Feliciano's outstretched hand. A loud snap telling the horrified nations watching that it was broken. He kicked Feliciano in the face again, breaking his nose again.
“P-please….” Feliciano begged, tears streaming down his filthy face. He couldn't stop staring at the place his brother had spit, nor could he stop himself from looking off in the direction his brother left in.
“Come on, Marks. Your paps will get suspicious if you're out late again.” One of the few sober bullies said, looking around him nervously.
“Yeeeerriight…” Marks slurred. “Yooou!” He said to Feliciano, “I ain't dooone witchuuu yet! Know that I'llll finish disss laterrr!” He said, going for another kick. A low growling noise and a sharp bark made him freeze as he came face to face with a very pissed off Asher.
The tame wolf was bristling with anger. His sharp teeth were bared at the bully as he stood protectively in front of his downed pack member.
The bullies were quick to stagger away, most of them dead-drunk. None of them wanted to face a fully grown male wolf, after all. Behind them, an innocent 8-year-old child was left, bloodied and bruised and broken lying in the road as the night rapidly set in.
“DO NOT yell at Romano.” I reminded the nations, who looked about ready to come out of their shock. “I told you—I've already forgiven him. This is long past, and he's more than made up for it.”
“No.” I stated firmly, cutting America off. The other nations made noises of disgruntlement, and a few brave souls glared at Romano. I gave them an icy glare in return. They soon stopped.
Feliciano didn't have the strength to move, let alone walk home. He lay there, sobbing until Asher turned around and nuzzled him, letting him know he was no longer alone. “A-Asher…” Feliciano said with relief.
“Could you get Lovi? Oh, wait… he left… Could you help me, then?” He asked weakly. Asher seemed to understand, though, and crouched down. Feliciano was able to heave himself onto the wolf's back.
Asher carried Feliciano home that night, being as gentle as he could. They snuck into the house to find Emma waiting impatiently. She nearly had a heart attack when she saw the state Feliciano was in.
“What happened?!” She asked, horrified. She was already getting out the medical supplies and treating Feliciano's wounds.
“N-nothing…” Feliciano gasped out as his mother accidentally jarred his broken hand.
“Don't you dare lie to me, Feliciano.” She warned.
“R-really!” He tried again.
“You should know to obey mom when she uses our full names…” Romano muttered to me. I nodded my head, knowing how stupid I was being here.
“Feliciano Chigi Vargas, you will not lie to me!”
“Your middle name is Chigi?” Spain asked, shocked.
“Yes…” I said, embarrassed. I loved my name, really I did!
Chigi was a name picked out by my father. Both our middle names are. That's where Romano got his Chigi from. He's calling me by my middle name in a secret way of asking if I'm still there. Asking for confirmation that I'm still there for him. I `ve' in response to let him know the same, or ask him the same. Every now and then, we switch it up. When I ask `ve' and Romano `Chigi', it's the equivalent of asking `are you there?' and confirming `I'm here.' But when we switch it up and I say `Chigi' and he goes `ve', it's as if saying `I'm here for you.' And the response is `I know you are. I am too.' It's a secret little code we developed over time.
“So what's your middle name, Lovi?” Spain asked. Romano blushed and muttered something. “Huh? I couldn't hear you~!” Spain repeated.
“I said you'll find out in a minute! I think she got our middle names mixed up. Mine should've been Chigi, and yours should've been mine.” Romano muttered.
“Fine! I-it was the bullies in the village. They got drunk and came after me… I was stupid. I said something I shouldn't have and they beat me up for it.” Feliciano said. “I'm sorry, momma… Please don't be mad at me…?”
“It's okay.” Emma sighed. “I'm not mad at you. Just don't lie. It's unbecoming of you. Neither of you should lie. Speaking of which… LOVINO VE VARGAS! COME OUT HERE THIS INSTANT!” She yelled.
“Ve? That's your middle name?” America asked.
“Si. It's an actual name, for the record.” Romano said.
Lovino came running out of the room, and stopped before his mother. He stared between her and his brother in slight fear. “I'm sorry! I didn't mean to—!” He started, before Feliciano cut him off.
“I told her everything, Lovi. About how I told you to go ahead. It was stupid of me to provoke those bullies, I know. I'm sorry. Momma! Please don't punish Roma, too! He didn't do anything wrong! I made him go home first! I thought I could handle myself.” Feliciano lied. Lovino hid his shock well, or as well as a 32-year-old in an 8-year-old's body could.
“Alright.” Emma said after a minute. It was obvious that she saw through the lie, but was letting it slide. “But Felice? Stay away from the village, please? I hate seeing you like this.”
“Si, mama…” Feliciano replied.
The scene blurred to show the twins in their room. Feliciano was all patched up, and Lovino was staring at him from his bed. “Why?” He asked simply. “Why did you cover for me?”
“What happened with Liana?” Feliciano changed the subject.
“Answer my question!”
“Because you're my brother! I don't need any other reason!”
“Bullshit! I left you there to die! I spat at you! Why the hell would you still call me your brother?!”
“Because you're all I have! You and momma and Asher are all I have! If I didn't have you three… I would be all alone. And that's worse than anything.” Feliciano said quietly. “Now, what happened with Liana? You have to tell somebody. Otherwise you'll end up bottling it up, and that's not good!” Feliciano said.
“Well… She's engaged… To Marks, of all people! He's not right for her! I am! I'd make her much happier than him! He'd only abuse her! Look at what he did to you! But I can't piss off the village bully! His father owns the damned place! But I've got a plan! I'm going to talk to her tomorrow! We could run away together! She could come with us, and the four of us, plus Asher, could be a big family! We could move a few months early, right?” Lovino sounded so hopeful. Feliciano sighed.
Later that night, after Lovino was asleep, Feliciano lay awake, still aching something terrible from his injuries. “Asher, am I doing the right thing?” He asked suddenly. Asher lifted his head from Feliciano's pillow. “I mean with Vino… I don't want him to hurt… He's going to lose her either way… Isn't it better to have lost her before he had anything? Isn't that better than to have had that love reciprocated? She won't go for him, I suspect. I'm his brother, after all. I'm the sick one. Nobody wants to be around me, let alone be my sister-in-law. She'll only ever see him as a child, anyways… So what should I do? Do I let him go for it and risk him breaking? Or do I let him live in wondering? I'm honestly not sure which is worse.” Feliciano sighed, running his hand through Asher's fur. “I hope I'm not making a mistake. I don't want to lose him… He's the only one I have… He's the most important person to me.” Feliciano whispered, before finally falling asleep.
The nations sighed in sympathy. Even so young, they hadn't realized how philosophical I could be.
Before anyone could say anything, the next memory popped up, showing Feliciano sitting at the top of a sheer cliff, Asher at his side.
“ITALIEN! GET DOWN FROM THERE! You don't know if it's unstable or not!” Germany yelled out of reflex.
“Ve~ Germany, I'm fine. Vino and I hung out there all the time, Viva~! It was our secret meeting spot. He'd gone to meet with Liana, and I was waiting for him to return…” I trailed off, knowing what was coming next. Romano winced, also remembering what had happened at the cliff.
Lovino came stalking out of the tree line, a deep, hateful scowl on his face, as he glared harshly at Feliciano.
“Vino! You're back! How'd it go? What'd she—”
The sound echoed around the suddenly still area. Even Asher seemed shocked at the turn of events. The nations couldn't comprehend it. Lovino had just slapped Feliciano. Open-palmed slap. Feliciano's head slowly centered itself to stare open-mouthed at his brother, his left hand migrating up to the red palm-mark on his left cheek. “V-Vino?”
“Don't you dare!” Lovino started, livid. “She said no because you were my brother!” He hissed the words, putting enough venom in them that Feliciano staggered back in shock. “It's your fault! We'd be together if you weren't here! If you were a part of me like it was supposed to be!” Lovino's rant was steadily climbing in volume and ferocity. He started advancing on a frightened Feliciano, who was backing up in fear.
“Vino?” He asked, terrified of the look in Lovino's eyes.
“Don't call me that.” Lovino replied with a deadly calm. He was inches away from Feliciano, who was now backed up all the way to the cliff. “You aren't my brother. You aren't Italy. You are nothing but a sickly child who gets in my way, and follows me around. That's it. Just do the world a favor and off yourself before you can mess up anyone else's lives.” He said coldly. The nations stared at Romano in shock. Romano was crying openly, sobbing into my shirt as he managed to choke out apology after apology.
“Vino… I said it was fine. I've forgiven you. You had a broken heart… We all do and say things in anger and frustration and sorrow when our hearts are hurting. Trust me, I know.” I said comfortingly. I glared at the other nations in warning over Romano's head. If they so much as say one word about this to Romano, then I might just end up waking Yang up again.
Perhaps by some cruel twist of fate, at the exact moment that Lovino turned and started walking away, the cliff face crumbled under the children's feet. The two started falling, and Lovino grabbed Feliciano's broken hand as his other hand grabbed the edge of the cliff. They hung there, suspended above a deep gorge with a deep, fast-moving ravine miles below them.
Feliciano cried out in pain at the strain suddenly put on his broken hand. “V-Vino?” He asked surprised. His brother just told him to go kill himself, and here he was saving him from falling. Why?
“I-Idiot!” Lovino called “D-Don't let go! I-! I didn't mean what I said! I'm sorry! I was just frustrated and-! And angry! And-! I don't know, okay?! Just don't let go! I'm so sorry!” He cried, tears flowing.
“I… I'm sorry, Vino… You're right.” Feliciano said sadly, before he smiled brightly at his brother. “I'm sorry I couldn't be a good little brother for you. I'll be better in my next life, okay?” He said, before letting go.
“NO!” Lovino cried, as Feliciano's hand slipped through his own. He stared, unable to comprehend what just happened. The nations watched in horror as Feliciano fell, a sickening crack sounded as his head hit a rock jutting out of the cliff face. He landed in the river below. They could see no sign of him.
“Damnit! He can't swim!” Lovino cried out. Asher was barking at the edge of the cliff above. “ASHER!” Lovino called urgently. The wolf stopped, and waited for his orders. “Go get mom! Lead her to the riverbank! Hurry!” Lovino called out as he pushed off of the cliff, and followed his brother, avoiding the jutting rocks.
The nations couldn't do anything. They couldn't think to say anything. The way Lovino had acted at the beginning of the memory was a foreign Lovino to them; but just now, that was pure Romano. That was the Romano they knew. The nation of Southern Italy who'd do anything to protect his little brother.
The memory phased out, before coming back in fuzzy quality. Lovino was dragging an unconscious Feliciano onto the riverbank. “O-oi… Stay with me, Felice… Please… I'm sorry… I'm so goddamned sorry!” Feliciano was shivering hard, making the nations worry. “I… I promise… I swear… I'll look after you. I will always protect you. Just give me one more chance, Please! I know I've been a dick. An asshole. A bastard…”
“Don't forget jackass…” Feliciano said weakly, causing Lovino to jump to his side.
“Felice! You're awake!”
“N-not really…” Feliciano replied, already starting to fade out again, his head was bleeding badly, and his shivering was getting worse.
“Hey! Stay with me! Please! I was a jackass, too, alright?! Just… don't leave me! Please stay awake! Can you hear me?! Hello?!”
“Chigi… I'm here.”
“P-please stay… w-with me… I-I'm so-sorry… I co-couldn't do it… I-I tried… I-I'm t-too scared to… to… leave by myself… I'm sor-rry…” Feliciano said, his voice growing weaker by the second.
“He's in shock, aru! He's also going to develop hypothermia if he isn't warmed up soon.” China said, worried.
“Hang on! Please, don't sleep!” Lovino said urgently, gently slapping his brother's face to get him to stay awake.
“But wh-why not?”
“Because Mom's coming! She'll be mad if you fall asleep!” Lovino said.
“Yeah, so you gotta stay awake, alright?! I'll make you that stuff you really like! You know, the one you haven't named yet? With the long wheat!”
“Oh… My favorite… Y-you p-promise?”
“Yeah, but only if you stay awake, okay?! Can you do that for me?”
“I-I'll t-try… But I'm… so… tired…” Feliciano's eyes started to droop again.
“NO!” Lovino yelled, somehow managing to snap Feliciano awake again.
“VINO! FELICE!” Emma's frantic voice called, as she ran into the scene. “What happened?!”
“Mom! He fell off the cliff! He hit his head hard! Please make him better!” Lovino sounded terrified.
“M-momma… V-Vino said h-he'd ma-make m-me… that stringy s-stuff I li-like… If I c-could st-stay awake…”
“Yes, we'll both make it, so don't fall asleep.” Emma said urgently, Asher pacing nervously beside the family.
“Asher!” Emma said, “Go fetch the doctor!” Asher barked and ran off in the direction of the village. Emma, who happened to have a blanket with her, stripped Feliciano to the nude, and discarded the sopping wet clothes before wrapping Feliciano up in the blanket, making sure to apply pressure to his bleeding head. By this point, his shivering had stopped, and his breathing was getting slower and shallower.
They rushed home, trying to keep Feliciano awake, but somewhere along the journey, he finally succumbed to the encroaching darkness, and the memory blacked out.
“What the hell did we just see?” America asked, not sure how to approach the situation.
“A very private moment between brothers.” England stated heavily. Everyone sighed tiredly. We were all exhausted from watching these memories, and we weren't even through my childhood yet. My first childhood. Because we had two. But we'll get to that later~
“He's developing hypothermia…” China said, worried. The nations looked at me with anxiety.
“I'm fine. I lived. That's all that matters.” I said.
“The hell it is! You scared us to death!” Romano argued.
“I'm sorry!” I said quickly.
“No, no… I'm sorry. It was my—”
“I swear that if you say it was your fault one more time…” I trailed off, leaving Romano to come up with a suitable ending.
“Alright… But I am sorry…”
“Hey! The next memory's coming up!” America said, eager to see if I really was all right or not.
The scene popped up again, this time to show Feliciano laying in a bed, with the doctor looking at him. His face was flushed, and he seemed to be breathing quickly, and shaking badly; every few seconds he'd give a weak cough.
“I'm afraid he's got pneumonia.” The doctor said.
“Hypothermia can turn to pneumonia if you're not careful…” China whispered, unable to stop the medical knowledge that spilled from his lips.
“What does that mean, doctor?” Emma asked, looking terrified.
“Give him plenty of fluids and rest. Either he'll get better in a few weeks, or he'll die. It all depends on how strong he is.” The doctor said.
“That's really all they can do?!” America asked, shocked. They called the doctor over to tell them the obvious?!
“In those days, yes. Not many people were educated. Hardly anyone was, actually. Our father was well learned, though, and taught our mother how to read and write among other things, and she, in turn, taught us. A bit of medical knowledge was among the `other things' he taught her, which is why she's always able to treat my wounds and sicknesses.” I explained.
“Why was your father so well-learned, aru?” China asked, curious.
“He was from the House of Chigi.” Romano stated.
“The House of Chigi? You mean that royal Roman family? They didn't pop up until the early 13th century! We're still in the BC's!” England complained.
“They didn't make an appearance until the 13th century. It existed long before then. Our father left that life, though. He was the youngest of 15 sons, and decided that he wanted to explore the world, and found our mother. His birth name was Christopher Vargas Chigi, but switched his middle and last names around when he left. He married our mother, and became Mr. and Mrs. Emma and Christopher Vargas. They had their first son together, and named him Alexander, after our grandfather on our father's side, but Alexander was born with a weak heart. He died days later when an epidemic struck. That same epidemic took our father as well. They'd been together for ten years, and married for eight. It took them that long to have a child, and she lost them both in just a few days. He taught her all about his family history, in hopes that she could help him teach his sons and daughters. About a week after their deaths, our mother found us. She named me Lovino Ve Vargas, as `Ve' was a name that was carried by the firstborn son of the Chigi Family, and Veneziano was named Feliciano Chigi Vargas, so that the Chigi link would never be lost.” Romano explained.
“So you're technically Roman Royalty!? Dude! That's awesome!” America shouted, awestruck.
The memory changed once more. It was night, and Feliciano was still lying in bed, looking very sick. His breathing was quick, and he was still coughing badly. He looked to have a high fever, too, and had a wet washcloth folded up on his forehead to keep him cool. A bowl of cool water was sitting on the nightstand beside the bed. Lovino was sitting in a wooden chair beside Feliciano's bed. He was holding his brother's hand in both of his, and had it pressed to his own forehead.
“V-Vino…?” Feliciano asked quietly, before a coughing fit wracked his already exhausted body. Lovino helped him through it.
“You should be asleep, idiot... Why would you do that? Why'd you just let go? I didn't mean what I said, I'm so, so sorry, Felice… I don't know what I was thinking… I'm such an idiot!”
“I… I'm sorry… I thought… I thought that your life would be better without me… I have for a while, actually. I'm always sick, and causing you trouble… And now I've finally cost you your girl… I'm so sorry, Vino… I'll try to be a better brother for you, I promise!” Feliciano said the last part a little too forcefully, and it sent him into another coughing fit.
“Idiot! Don't talk! Just rest… And listen… It's not your fault, okay?! It's mine…” Lovino gently caressed the hand-shaped bruise on his brother's left cheek. He looked ready to cry. Without thinking, he bent down and kissed the bruise. “Mi dispiace, fratellino… I shouldn't have done that… I shouldn't have said what I did. God, I'm such a bastard, aren't I? I… I'm a terrible big brother! But I'll be better, Felice. I promise! I'll look after you, and protect you always. I'll put you and your needs first, and I'll always be there when you need me, even if you don't want me to. No matter what—I'll always be there for you. This I vow. Famiglia Before All. This will be the rule that will govern my life. Family first. Always.” Feliciano looked at his crying brother with a sad, yet hopeful smile. He weakly reached up his free hand, and wiped the tears away, his own tears flowing.
“Famiglia Before All. This I, too, shall vow.” Feliciano repeated in a tired voice. “We shall both live by this rule, fratello. When one of us breaks, the other will be there to pick up the pieces, okay? There's no need for just one of us to carry such a burden. We're twins! We're half of a whole—of each other. We weren't made to be alone; we were made to be one.”
“It wasn't your fault, fratellone.” Feliciano started, “It may have been your actions, but what happened is the result from both of our choices. We're both at fault for this, okay?”
“Get some rest, Felice… You need to regain your strength.” Lovino said, re-wetting the towel on his twin's forehead.