Title: La Petite Mort - Prologue 1/2Author: madnesshpPairing(s):
England/America, France/England, Russia/AmericaGenre:
Alternate Universe/Horror/RomanceOverall Rating:
Sex in future chapters, violence, blood, innuendos galoreSummary:
Ever since the night England was taken away by the vampires, America has been slaying vampire after vampire with the sole intent of bringing him back. But it has already been seven years since that fateful day, and unfortunately time has a way of changing people.
"Are you cold, America?" I'm fine like this,
the blond twelve-year-old wanted to respond. Instead he shook his head against England's chest and tightly wrapped his small arms around England's waist, hoping that it was enough to relay to the older man everything he wanted
to say but couldn't
It had been less than a year since the darkness came. No one knew precisely where they
came from, but suddenly and without much warning there was an attack. Panic enveloped the city. Fear spread quickly like a grease fire. And blood was spilled. So much blood.
Though no one knew why the vampires came to the city, this much was clear: they weren't leaving. And one by one, citizen after citizen swiftly disappeared… then reappeared, awakened with an acquired taste for humanity’s life source. The light in their eyes vanished, their souls wrenched out, their morality sucked dry... they all became like the monsters who took them away.
Some of the remaining humans fled to other towns, but they soon learned that the attack wasn't an isolated event. The vampires were very thorough in their takeover. There weren't many places to run, and frankly it was quite dangerous for anyone to be caught in a large public building, like sitting ducks... but for now it was church, and it was daylight, and such things provided an adequate amount of hope for those who had only that little bit of hope left.
“Let us begin our prayers for our loved ones who have recently passed,” rang the voice of the old priest, its echoed effect within the church startling America out of thoughts. He shuddered. A hand pressed against the back of his head and began to stroke the fine blond hair with a calmness that America could only associate with the security he wished for.
His England. His tower of strength.
America.” England was whispering. The boy tilted his head up to show that he was listening. “America, it will be all right.” No it won’t,
a voice murmured at the back of America’s mind, but this was England
telling him otherwise. It was England here, holding him, protecting him. And England wouldn’t lie.
So America nodded and allowed his protector to gently pull away so that they could both pay attention to the day’s mass. He did not relinquish England’s hand, however, and thankfully England permitted it with a warm smile.
The members of the church—a fairly large gathering of broken remnants of citizens—huddled together in the pews of the poorly lit cathedral. There were hushed murmurs among them when the priest had requested for volunteers to dedicate the day's prayers to the precious dead; so many lives were taken, and many of the survivors were hesitant to bring their dead loved ones to the attention of the entire church, as if doing so would somehow lessen the importance of anyone else's
loss. America could feel England's fingers tighten around his hand, wordlessly hinting for the boy to say something, come on,
but America just couldn't find the words. After the moment had passed, and the priest continued with his sermon, a heavy sigh came from England's lips.
"It's all right, America." He said, his tone understanding. "Next time."
It was lockdown at the orphanage that evening, which became the norm ever since the vampires arrived. It was a simple shelter, constructed behind and attached to the church—large enough, but not so large as to attract unwanted attention. No one was allowed in or out of shelter until dawn, and the main door was padlocked with a key that only the head nurse held. That's why when England came knocking on the door at one in the morning, said-head nurse was tempted to turn him away, unwilling to take the risk and go against the rules of safety. She knew England's position was... different,
"Please, Miss Ukraine. They aren't here, I assure you," came the muffled voice of the weary man. "Please."
Ukraine pressed her back against the door. "T-this can't be a usual occurrence, Mr. England. There are children here you are putting at risk..."
"I promise you that I will not do this again, but... please.
" He paused and it was then the head nurse could hear his ragged breathing. "T-the snow is coming soon. I'm in need of your assistance."
Ukraine sighed and shook her head before removing the key from her breast pocket. With a heavy click, the door was unlocked but she left the thick security chain on. She pushed open the door a bit to see England supporting his weight on his arm against the door frame. His clothes were caked with blood and dirt. In his other hand, he held up a crucifix that had been blessed by one of the late priests of their church a year ago; it was enough for Ukraine to trust him and she unlatched the chain.
When England was inside and the door was secure again, Ukraine led him into a small windowless room designated for first-aid treatment. It was dimly-lit, as was the rest of the inside of the shelter, and the walls were covered with off-white crinkled drapery. After discarding his ruined garments and putting on a fresh set of nightwear that was reserved for guest visitors, England sat down on a wooden chair beside a non-matching metal table. As Ukraine began tending to his wounds—two long gashes along his right arm—England tried to think of conversation topics that would ease the nurse's worry, but she beat him to the chase.
"A-america's not sleeping well," she said timidly as she dabbed ointment on one of England's cuts, pulling back momentarily when he hissed from the contact. "He tries to, bless his heart. I know he does, and he tries to be strong, but..."
England hissed again at the sting in his arm, but he nodded for Ukraine to continue.
"But you understand, Mr. England... ever since his poor little brother Canada disappeared..." She paused and lowered her voice. "America is convinced that he'll be next. I want to do something for him, but he doesn't want to talk about it! We don't know what to do."
"Earlier today he looked as pale as a ghost." England pondered, more to himself than to the nurse.
They stood quiet for a few moments as Ukraine finished dressing his gashes, but they both knew what they wanted to say; when America lost Canada, something became noticeable off.
America was far less rambunctious and somewhat distant from everyone at the orphanage. It was only natural, given the monstrous events, that people would change... but with America there was a glimmer of hope, and that hope was England.
Ukraine stood and closed her first-aid kit, but she didn't move away from the table. "Mr. England," she began, and hesitated. "... you should speak to him, is what I mean."
"I understand, given your position, that you can't take him under your custody."
He looked away from her and focused on his clenched hands the table. "It's not my position to enter his life as a father when his real parents have been killed, nor can I replace his lost brother."
"But he trusts you more than anyone else." It wouldn't be long until Ukraine would tearfully beg for England to stay with the boy, to sing him to sleep or something
; she just couldn't bear to see someone as sweet and innocent as America suffer another sleepless night without his most trusted person. All the other children had been somewhat successfully assured of their protection, but—
England placed a hand on Ukraine's and brought up his gaze to look at her with calm eyes. "All right, all right. I will speak to him."
She let out a breathy little sigh of relief and nodded. After a pause, she put a little strength behind her voice and asked, "And how is work, Mr. England?"
He gave a shrug before standing and tugging his long sleeves over his bandages. "It's going well, I suppose. A bit slow, but steady going." A tired grin crossed his features. "Thankfully there is some progress. Some of them are even beginning to fear me."
"As expected," she acknowledged with a knowing smile, "from the town's only vampire hunter."
" England pressed a finger to his own lips. "Quiet now, else you'll disturb the others."
America's eyes widened and covered his mouth with both hands. "Sorry," he whispered as England quietly made his way over to the boy and scooped him up. America gave the man a hug, which was returned weakly. The weakness seemed to have gone unnoticed, however.
"England, you came back! Please tell me you're staying." America said, his big blue eyes wide with excitement.Ah,
England thought, that kind of enthusiasm is something I rarely see these days.
It made him almost forget about the stinging pain in his arms. "Just for a little while, unfortunately. I am still a bit busy... "
America visibly sagged but forced a small smile on his face. "That's okay. You're here now. That's all that counts." He tightened his hold on the other. "But how did you get in? I thought nobody was allowed to be here after it got dark."
England settled America back into bed. "Never mind that, dear boy. I heard you haven't been sleeping well. Is that true?"
"W-well..." America bit his lip. "The other boys like tellin' each other monster stories, so—"
"I see," England sighed and ruffled the boy's hair.
"I can't help listening! I think...um, I mean, right now I'm scared of 'em, but in a few years when I'm an adult like you, I'll be... ah-mule to them?"
The boy shrugged and nestled himself into the covers. "Yeah."
"In a few years, perhaps you will be." England laughed and gave America a kiss on the forehead. "But for now, it may be best if you stay away from such things. If you'd like, I'll bring you a happier books to read in the future. May I?"
America turned onto his stomach and buried his head in his pillow. "N'kay," he mumbled. England furrowed his brows.
"Are you all right?"
The little blond nodded into the pillow, but England knew better.
"America. You're not lying to me, are you?"
Silence. England shook his head.
"There's no need to sulk. You know I'll come back soon, America."
America turned his head so that one open eye was visible. "But you always say that," he said with a soft voice. "N'then you don't come back for days. I'm alone here. It's scary
being here alone."
"Haven't you made friends with the other lads?" England wanted to know.
"The others must certainly feel as you do. You shouldn't worry. And you have people here taking care good care of all of you, myself included when I am able. It's difficult now, I understand, but you..." England trailed off at seeing America's lip start to quiver. His heart clenched at the thought of his dearest little America crying, and for the boy to shed tears over something England
was not doing was especially disconcerting.
England let out a heavy sigh of defeat, removed his shoes, and nudged America's side. "I'm not encouraging that you get used to this," the Brit said as he eased his way onto the bed next to the boy. "It's just that I have no where else to sleep for the night."
America abruptly lifted his head from the pillow and looked at England with a mix of something like doubt and excitement and love
, and he chirped as he quickly nestled himself closer to the older man.
"Are you cold, England?" America asked, shifting a little to lift the covers for him.
England shook his head. "I'm fine like this."
The smile that graced the boy's face was the most precious thing England had seen and felt in the longest time.
In the form of rumors and ghost stories, the children were often told that although vampires could not enter one's home unless explicitly invited, it did not mean that the vampires were entirely cut off from contact. Sometimes the sounds of a crying child could be heard from outside the walls of the shelter in the middle of the night. But it would not be prudent to investigate, no matter how real the cries sounded, no matter how much the person sounded like they were in pain.
Many were lost to the vampires this way.
And there were other more enticing methods that worked just as well.
A frigid draft swept into the room of slumbering children. Yet it wasn't the sudden cold that brought America out of his sleep, but the distinct whisper of his name that the wind brought in. The blue-eyed boy sat up shivering, despite the warmth of his bed, as remnants of a non-dream washed over his skin. Down his back and up his arms, the sensation of barely-touching fingers... at the nape of his neck, the chilly impression of velvet lips... and his name. His name
America grabbed at the sleeping England sprawled next to him. "England!" he urged, trying to keep as quiet as possible considering the circumstances, but only a moment later he stopped himself. He was afraid that if he managed to wake up England up, the man would only tell him that it was just the wind, and not to worry. And that, oh,
it was getting too late, he must be leaving soon—and the last thing America wanted was for England to leave him before the night was over.And he's hurt.
America pouted with concern. He wasn't stupid, he wanted to tell England. He knew when the older man would get injured, even if the traces of dried blood on the sleeves of his shirt weren't such a dead giveaway. But he knew the Brit always swallowed down his pain, especially in front of the boy, and never explained how he got the injuries. So it was only natural that the only thing America wanted to do in return was hurry up and grow old enough to protect England. Even if America didn't know all the details. Even if he hadn't gotten old enough in time to save his brother...C'mon and be strong,
he told himself, though his shaking body countered his thoughts. It's just the wind. It's just the wind. It's just...
The cold... it was becoming so that exhaling caused those little puffs of frost to form. It must have started to snow outside, but that shouldn't have affected the inside of the shelter so much if all the windows and doors were secure. He shifted his attention to the very long and dark hallway that led to the door. He couldn't tell from where he was sitting, but was the door open? And he had no idea about the door beyond that
doorway, which was the entrance to the shelter.
Well, there was only one way to find out.
The wind whispered to him again, though the syllables of his name were thankfully absent. Ignoring the panicky feeling in his stomach, America shimmied out of bed. It was his turn to be the hero on England's behalf, afterall. Luckily he knew just where Ukraine kept her keys at night.
What America hadn't expected was to come across a perfectly shut main door, locked and chained, completely set in its place. The thin opening beneath the doorway couldn't possibly have been wide enough to let such a strong breeze in, right? He was both relieved and disappointed, but when he turned to leave—THUD
Something heavy fell against the door and America bit back a scream. And a mantra of it's the wind, it's the wind, it's the wind
, took over his mind. A minute passed, and nothing else happened, so America gingerly got onto the tips of his toes to peek through the door's peephole.
And he realized that the object was actually a person.
The man had an intimidatingly large body but his face was its contradiction, with his soft eyes meekly blinking away the little drops of melted snow that fell from his bangs and eyelashes—so it really was snowing outside, wasn't it—
and with his childlike face and rosy cheeks. His soft, feather-like hair was a light blond color, and his skin was as pale as the snow itself. His long coat did little to keep him warm, America could tell; the poor outsider hugged himself tightly, shivering, as his scarf whipped about him in the furious wind.
America felt as if his own body had been plunged into an ice-cold bath just thinking
about how it must feel to be in that position. Goosebumps raised on the skin of his arms and he shuddered with sympathy for the poor man who stood outside in what appeared to be a developing snowstorm.
The man shook his head to shake off the snow from his hair, and when he regained eye contact with the boy, he mouthed, "Please.
What made America cave in, finally, was the sight of the man's tears—barely forming, almost frozen, but unmistakeably there. Even through a foggy peephole, those tears were just so clear.
America nodded firmly, resolute in his decision, and lifted the key he pilfered from Ukraine's bureau to the padlock.
A gust of wind surged in automatically as the door, unlocked and unchained, was pushed open. With America wearing little more than his blue cotton pajamas, the cold stabbed into his flesh like millions of little knives and he recoiled, squeezing his eyes shut. It was that much colder for only a few seconds before the door fell back into place.
When America opened his eyes, the first thing he noticed about his guest was the man's violet eyes. The tears were gone, vanished, as if they had never threatened to fall. A pink blush crossed the man's cheeks, though it may have just been from the cold, America couldn't be sure. It was somehow so- Cute.
"Спасибо." The man whispered—or, it wasn't
a whisper, was it? It was just his voice, soft as silk. Leaning down to the one who so graciously let him in, he smiled gently and spoke again, "Thank you."
The boy had no idea what he had just done.
*****Next: Prologue 2/2"Everything that deceives may be said to enchant."