<^><^> 2p!Prussia’s POV <^><^>
I opened my mouth to say something, to warn my friends of the danger, but a coughing fit cut me short. Blinking in surprise, I held my hand to my throat, unable to speak. I coughed again, choking on the words forming in my voice box.
“Are you okay?” Matthew stepped away from me a pace, eyeing me carefully through his sunglasses.
I shook my head, opening my mouth to tell him about Arthur and coughing again instead.
“Are you sick or something?” Herc bounced around me, almost running into Matthew. “Cuz if you’re sick then you should have stayed home it’s probably safer there anyways you didn’t need to come all the way out here if you weren’t feeling well oh my god you don’t have the plague do you ‘cause that would suck especially since we probably have it now too-“
“HERC!” Matthew caught the Greek by the ankles with his hockey stick, causing the bouncy boy to fall over with a squeak of surprise. “Would you SHUT IT, EH?!”
“Owowow… That was unnecessary!” Herc whined, punching Matthew in the knee and jumping up to run to the other side of the room.
Arthur giggled, sending a shiver down my spine. I glared over at him, and he simply smiled and waved back, blue eyes swirling. I started to walk towards him, my fists clenched, but another coughing fit stopped me before I got too close.
Where had these fits come from? I was fine in the hallway a few moments ago…
“So, where is everyone?” Arthur asked Lovino, a sweet smile on his face.
“Oh, that. This was-a supposed to be an inner-a circle meeting, but I-a guess Gilbert got a little excited by-a your willingness to-a join.” Lovino glanced at me, His blue-violet eyes questioning.
I coughed again.
“Gil wasn’t feeling well today,” Arthur lied, and Lovino nodded understandingly. “He brought me with him to do all the talking! I can leave, if you think that’s best…” Arthur pouted a little, shoving his hands forlornly into the pockets of his dress pants.
“Oh, no, it’s-a quite alright!” Lovino assured him, flipping his blonde hair a little so it settled across his forehead in a pattern the fashionista deemed suitable. “Do you work at-a the palace like-a Gil does?”
“Why yes! I’m an errand boy, of sorts, for King Vargas!” Lovino’s smile twitched at the mention of his younger brother, but his soft smile returned quickly.
“Well-a then, that automatically puts you-a very close to the inner-a circle anyways. It shouldn’t-a be any problem for you to-a stay for the meeting.”
Damn it! I covered my mouth with my hand, trying to stifle any future fits. Lovino!! Stop this, before something bad happens!
“Gilbert? Are you-a sure you’re-a going to be okay to attend-a the meeting?” Lovino looked at me worriedly. I waved my hands in the universal “I’m fine” signal, but the sudden movement sent another wave of hacking through me. I coughed up a little blood into my hand, holding my throat as if that would somehow ease this unnatural pain.
“Alright, go-a home, Gilbert!” Lovino ordered me when he saw the blood. “You need to-a rest, and I don’t want the rest of us-a catching whatever-a you have!” When I shook my head to refuse, Lovino pointed at the door, crossing his arms and frowning a little. His eyes were still soft, however, like a mother looking at a child that refused to pick up his toys.
With a sigh of defeat, I straightened as best I could and walked to the door, trying to keep my balance. Whatever it was making me sick sure knew how to make a guy’s knees weak.
Stumbling out of the tree, I put my hand (which now had a thin coat of blood gracing the palm from coughing) to my head, letting out a low moan.
The distant sound of laughter swirled around me, wrapping around me and filling my mouth and nostrils with a sickly sweet smell. My eyes widened as I recognized the laughter, looking back at the bark of the now closed door. The scent choked me, making me cough harder than I had before. I could feel the lining of my throat tearing, pieces of flesh flying out of my mouth with each shuddering hack.
Why could no one hear me? The door of the base was made so that the members inside could hear anything outside, but not the other way around. The sweet smell pressed against my lungs, and my mind and vision blurred.
I heard a loud thump, which I could only assume was my body hitting the forest floor. My body was numb, save for the burning sting in my throat that came with each cough.
This was no natural sickness. Arthur must have cast a spell on me to keep me from speaking. What had made him change his mind about needing me alive?
My vision was nearly gone now, each breath a war against my lungs. A small gray shape dotted into my vision, circling above me and squeaking.
“Pi-o!! Pi-o!!” It cried, settling itself on my chest. I weakly lifted my head, smiling a little when I saw who it was.
“G-Gilbird…” I managed to whisper, the mere movement of my lips forcing me into another bloody fit of coughing that scared the small bird off my chest.
Gilbird flew into the sky, screeching his strange tune and circling. Six other black birds circled with him, like vultures, dots in the setting sun.
_______... I’m sorry… I can’t… Can’t protect you anymore…
My eyes closed slowly, the blood covering my face and hands already drying in the quickly chilling air.
<^><^> Your POV <^><^>
You rubbed your hands along your arms, watching the sun set alone on the roof of the stables.
You hadn’t seen Gilbert since your brief conversation in the hallways outside of the throne room. You narrowed your eyes to look at the sun, which had taken on an orange color for its departure. Gil had been acting weirder than usual today, being even more secretive than usual.
You were used to him randomly disappearing sometimes, but…
But he always came to watch the sunset with you.
You glanced over at the little plate with the small piece of cake on it. The King had given to you as a present, then sent you back to doing your chores. You had hoped to share it with Gil, but…
You blew the candle out halfheartedly. Maybe he was just late, maybe something came up… Maybe he wasn’t going to come this time…
“Herro?” You looked down from the roof, meeting the red eyes of a cockily-grinning Asian standing below you.
“Umm… Hi?” You eyed him warily, taking a bite of cake in hopes he would not continue the conversation with you. You silently wished he would sense your uncomfortable mood and refrain from speaking, but he was obviously not very good at either.
“Are you _______?” He asked, pulling himself up onto the roof and standing over you. You quickly stood as well, not wanting to give him any advantage over you. Something about this man made you uncomfortable.
“Who wants to know?” You asked him, and he gave you another cocky grin. He dropped onto the knee of his black Japanese military outfit, giving you a slight bow.
“Kiku. Honda Kiku.” He informed you, and you looked at the back of his head, which was covered in dark black hair. He tilted his head upward again, red eyes waiting impatiently for a response.
“Well, Mr. Kiku-“
“You can just call me Kiku.” Somehow, he had managed to move from his position in front of you to a completely new one, as he was now holding your hand and leaning precariously close to your face. You swallowed, blushing, and snatched your hand away, taking a step away from him.
“O-Okay… What do you need me for, Kiku?” He laughed at your shyness, putting his hands lazily in his pockets and keeping his red slits on you.
“King Fericiano wants you to meet him tonight in ze woods. He has somezing for you.” He cocked his head to the side, his bangs momentarily falling over his eyes. “It’s your birzaday, right?”
“Yes.” You assured him, and he smiled his creepy smile again. “But the King isn’t exactly on friendly terms with me.” Your eyes narrowed; the Asian was obviously lying, but his cocky misdemeanor was throwing you off a little. “Are you sure he wants me to come and meet him in the woods, in the middle of the night? That seems awfully suspicious.”
“What? Are you going to risk disobeying ze King’s orders?” He mocked surprise, and you scowled at him. He laughed, moving towards you again. You slowly backed up, keeping your eyes on Kiku.
“Are you afraid to be arr arone in ze big, scary woods, _______?” He mocked you, advancing at an easy pace, and you matched his speed in retreat, making sure he gained no distance on you. “Or, on ze contrary, are you afraid of being arr arone wiz me?” You scowled again, confirming his answer.
With a gasp of surprise, you felt your foot slip into the empty air. You turned, looking over the edge of the roof, flailing your arms to keep from falling, to no avail. As your body dipped forward, you heard a quick shifting of cloth. Kiku was suddenly behind you, his arms wrapping around your waist to keep you from falling off the roof.
He pulled you back, and you tried your best to ease your breathing, mentally smacking yourself in the forehead for forgetting about the edge of the roof. You noticed that Kiku’s arms were still wrapped around your waist, and you turned your head to look at him.
His red eyes glinted mischievously out at you from beneath his dark bangs, his twisted smile too close to your face for comfort.
“You’re wercome…” He whispered softly, placing a devilish kiss in the crook of your neck. You gasped, swinging your leg backward and kicking him where the sun did not shine. Kiku screamed in pain, letting go and bending over, and you quickly ran toward the edge of the roof.
You leapt from the edge, going instinctively into the flip Gilbert had taught you when you were a child. You landed lightly on your feet, ending the flip perfectly, and ran towards the woods. You glanced back to see Kiku struggling to get up and follow you, but he was still in pain over his recent meeting with your foot.
Quickly deciding the woods were safer than being anywhere near Kiku, you raced into the dark forest, dodging underneath hanging branches and escaping into the night.
After what felt like forever, you finally stopped running, falling to your knees and panting. The sun had set, marking the end to another birthday, and you shivered in the cool night air. You glanced up at the sky, searching for the moon, or even a star. But clouds had covered the moon, and the twisting limbs of the trees blocked out what little sky was not wrapped in stormy darkness.
An owl screeched in the distance, making you jump up in fear. The forest reeked of fear, and your entire body was shivering in horror.
Sweeter than a cupcake…
You screamed, covering your ears, the trees around you twisting and laughing. Visions of nightmares were brought forth from your subconscious, twisting painfully through your mind as they struggled to rebury themselves in the back of your eyes.
The insane laughter echoed of the trees, though you knew it was all inside your head. But it still scared you, and you stumbled forward, your exhaustion replaced with adrenaline and fear.
You placed your hand on a tree, but it sank inward, as if it was a thick syrup trying to engulf your arm. You glanced up in surprise, and the limbs of the tree loomed over you, the bark forming the twisted pattern of a laughing face that seemed to bend over and snap at you, making you jump away.
The trees laughed. Everywhere, they reached out, ripping your clothes and stealing swatches of your hair. Birds and bats seemed to pop out of nowhere, their shrill cries mixing with the insane laughter in your mind, like a symphony of nails scratching desperately at a chalkboard coffin.
No longer looking where you were going, you stumbled into a knee deep river, which ran past you in apathy of your situation, numbing your feet so that running hurt even more. Your lungs burned, but you ran despite every piece of your body crying out in sorrow and pain.
You entered a clearing full of soft grass, where you collapsed, weeping into the soft earth. The trees stopped laughing, and the laughter quietly vanished, becoming less than a faint memory.
Why were you scared again? You shivered, knowing this was not the first time you had forgotten something terrifying that slept in the back of your mind. You looked up again.
The trees seemed less frightening now, their branches reaching forlornly towards the sky. You spied a small house in the center of the clearing, and your heart filled with relief. Jumping upward, you used every last ounce of your weaning strength to run to the door, knocking on it and calling for the assistance of the residents.
The door creaked open, revealing a dimly lit home. It was dusty, as if it had not been used in a long time. You opened the door further, slowly walking inside and shutting the door. You coughed as the dust resettled from the movement, searching for a light.
Finding a poorly made matchbox, you struck a light, holding it above you. Spying a candle in the dim light, you lit it, shaking out the match and placing it back with its brothers in the box. You walked through the house, searching for the owners of the dirty home. You could not find any, and, with a sigh of defeat, collapsed onto a small bed you found. Curling up, you placed the candle beside the cot, closing your eyes and letting sleep take you away.
You squinted, blinking drowsily, at the sun beam that was shining persistently into your eyes. Sitting up, you stretched, noticing the candle had been snuffed in an overflow of melted wax. You were glad it hadn’t wasted too much of its wick, feeling a little bad you had been too thoughtless to put it out, especially since the candle didn’t belong to you in the first place.
You stood up, sneezing as the dusty room resettled around you from the movement. You glared at the sun (though quickly looked away to avoid being blinded) wondering what time it was.
The King was going to kill you…
First, you had NO idea where the heck you even were. Second, even if you weren’t supposed to meet him, he was going to be ticked if he couldn’t find you. Third, you had just broken into (if you could call it that) someone else’s household, a crime that you would definitely be punished severely for if the King found out.
Of course, he takes any chance he could to see someone else in pain. Especially beheadings… You shuddered.
So… It seemed like your best option was to just stay here and explain your situation to whoever lived here. You would have assumed the house was unoccupied, but you remembered finding recently dirtied dishes in the small sink in the kitchen when you were exploring last night.
The least you could do was help this person out a little. Searching for cleaning supplies, you quickly set to work, sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, dusting shelves and ridding the nooks and crannies of the hut of cobwebs.
You kept your distance from the laundry. Just in case…
Whistling a cheery tune to yourself, you dusted your hands off on the ragged remains of your torn dress, gazing proudly around the now tidy home. This should make whoever lives here happy.
You knew it was a bit much, cleaning someone’s house because you had used their bed. But cleaning was really one of the few things you knew how to do.
The King had supposedly found you on his doorstep shortly after you were being born. Having no heirs of his own, he took you in, for reasons that still allude you to this day. However, even though you were technically his daughter, he treated you like a servant. Instead of living the life of a princess, you spent every day cleaning his castle, with the rare exception of your birthday or when King Francis paid your country a visit and Feliciano felt like showing off.
But Gilbert had been nice to you. He may have only been a stable boy, but the seemingly emotionless German always looked out for you.
You shook your head, wondering if he noticed you were gone, or if he had even returned to the castle in the first place.
Suddenly, a loud screeching erupted from outside, followed shortly by the crashing sound as glass shattered in a window in the other room. You instinctively covered your head with your arms, staring wildly in the direction of the noise.
A small grey bird flew into the room, landing on your arm and crying out it’s weird bird call, “Pi-o! Pi-o!!”
“Hello there…” You greeted the bird. It chirped again, then took a piece of your dress sleeve in its beak and began flapping its wings wildly, trying to pull you along. You laughed at the sight, and it chirped indignantly.
“Pi-pi-o!!” It squeaked again, and you heard a crunching of glass. Suddenly, six huge, black ravens flew in, circling you and screeching.
Now you were scared. They nipped at your dress, pulling your struggling form towards the door to the hut.
“WHY DOES EVERYTHING WANT TO KILL ME NOW?!” You cried, getting a little tired of struggling for your life. The birds finally managed to get you to the door, which their small grey companion was kind enough to open for you. You were shoved out the door into the field, and you tripped and stumbled over something.
Turning your head to see what it was you had fallen over, you covered your mouth with your hands and tried not to throw up.
<^><^> 2p!Italy’s POV <^><^>
“WHAT-A DO YOU MEAN, YOU DON’T-A KNOW WHERE SHE IS?!” I screamed at the Japanese man, who scowled at me and took a hesitant step back.
“Exactary what I said. I don’t know where she is!” Kiku growled, and I slapped him hard across the face.
“Don’t-a you DARE speak to me-a that way, bastardo!” I smirked a little at his pain, but quickly returned to my ferocious anger. “How did you-a manage to lose a mere-a girl?!”
“She took me by surprise…” Kiku muttered indignantly, refusing to meet my eyes. “You forgot to mention she was smart.”
“She isn’t. She’s an idiota, you should-a have been able to catch her!” I rubbed my forhead with my gloved hands, sitting back down in my throne. “Why did you even-a go to her? You weren’t-a supposed to move until Arthur told-a you to!”
“It’s okay, I wirr find her before he even knows about it!”
“Too late.” My head snapped up, and Kiku whirled around. Inches from the Asian’s face, Arthur held a kitchen knife, a grin on his face that dripped with poison.
“A-Arthur!” Kiku stammered, trying not to scream in fear. I instantly stood up in respect for my superior, but Arthur hadn’t even noticed me.
“Kiku, tell me something, ol’ chap~!” Arthur smiled sweetly, the knife held evenly 2 inches from Kiku’s throat. “Did we discuss our plan not one, not two, but FIVE times?”
“H-Hai.” Kiku swallowed warily.
“And, mate, did I not SPECIFICALLY say that you were to wait until I told you it was time for you to take _______ into the woods?”
“I’M NOT FINISHED!” Arthur roared, shoving his hand into Kiku’s mouth to shut him up. Although he was smiling, the look he gave Kiku was one of pure hatred. Kiku’s red eyes were wide, and he made a few strangled, gagging noises.
“Now, what made you believe it was a jolly good idea to not listen to me?” Arthur laughed, his voice dangerously deep. “Because, you know, I AM in charge.”
“Huurk…” Kiku tried to speak through Arthur’s hand, but he suddenly cried out in pain. Arthur had a strong grasp on Kiku’s tongue, which he had pulled out and pressed the knife against.
“So, Kiku, give me a good reason why I should not teach you a very painful lesson, you bad little boy!” Arthur giggled again, and Kiku struggled to speak through his tongue.
“What’s that?” Arthur teased. “I’m sorry, I can’t speak traitor.” Kiku screamed as the knife pressed into his tongue, warm blood pouring out of his mouth onto the floor.
“Arthur!” The Brit snapped his head up, grinning at me. “As much as I enjoy this, don’t-a you think it’s-a more important to figure out-a where _______ is?”
“Oh, dear me, you’re right!” Arthur let go of Kiku’s tongue, and the Asian groaned and fell to the ground, breathing hard. “I’ve sent out one of my best men already, but every little bit helps, eh old chap?”
“Right.” I nodded, looking down at Kiku. Kiku glared up at me with his red eyes, and I smirked and kicked him in the head with my boot. “Idioto. Listen when people-a tell you to do-a something, next time.”
<^><^> Your POV <^><^>
You dragged the limp and heavy body inside the hut, the birds flying around you giving out worried cries.
“H-Hold in there, Gil!” You told your unconscious friend. “I’ll fix this, I-I swear!” Gil didn’t respond, his head rolling on his shoulders and falling limp against your arm. A wave of nausea rolled over you as you once again questioned whether Gil was alive or dead, but you continued to drag him toward the bed.
You threw the covers off, pulling your friend onto the mattress and laying him across it. Putting your ear to his chest, you were relieved to feel the faintest rising and falling of his chest, a faltering beat signaling his heart was functioning at the very least.
Two birds few in, their feet wrapped around the handle of a bucket they carried together. Placing it beside you, the small grey bird dropped a towel onto your lap. The birds perched anxiously along the bed frame, looking between you and the German with quick flicks of their neck.
Wetting the towel, you began to clean the blood off of his hands and face, gingerly in case there were any wounds underneath. To your relief, there was none, and you had soon wiped all of the blood off. You cleaned the dirt out of his hair as well; by the looks of his clothes the birds had dragged him here to the hut, and his hair was full of sticks and dried mud.
Blushing a little, you pulled of his shirt to check for any wounds, tossing the black clothes into a small pile of laundry on the other side of the room. He appeared to be fine, so you covered him with the bed sheets, unwilling to take off his pants and check there as well.
You stood up, taking the bucket handle and the dirty towel into the other room, where you set it down next to the rest of the cleaning supplies. Entering the kitchen, you pulled out a pot, digging in the pantry for food.
The birds followed you through the house, keeping their eyes on you. The grey one sat on your head, occasionally letting out a “Pi-o!” whenever you suddenly changed direction.
“This will have to do…” You grumbled to yourself. One of the birds sneezed, and you tried not to laugh.
Birds have funny sneezes.
Filling the pot with water, you cleaned some vegetables and threw them in, along with a handful of herbs and spices you had found. Setting it above a fire to boil and cook, you found a cup and filled it with water. The bird sneezed again, and you gave it a funny look.
“Are you sick too?” You asked, and the bird sneezed in reply, fluttering up onto a little pedestal and tapping its beak on a shiny little plate above its seat.
“Sneezy…” You read out loud, and it sneezed. “Creative, Gil. Reeeal creative.”
There were six other pedestals like Sneezy’s on which the birds promptly sat themselves upon. Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Bashful, Doc (the bird sitting above this name had one leg shorter than the other, but otherwise he looked exactly like all the other birds), and Gilbird, where the small grey one perched.
“Nice to know you all have names.” You smiled halfheartedly, and they chittered amongst themselves proudly. “None of you touch the soup, you hear? That’s not for you.” Bashful hung his head as if he had already done something wrong, and Grumpy made a point to go and sit on the lid of the pot until he got hot and flew off again. Gilbird returned to sitting on your head.
You brought the cup to Gilbert, kneeling next to the bed carefully. Tipping his head up, you poured some water into his mouth. He somehow managed to drink it, and you gave a sigh of relief, slowly giving him more and more water. After the cup was empty, you stood up and went back to the kitchen, where Grumpy (you assumed) was poking at the pot, trying to get inside.
“Hey! Shoo shoo shoo!” You scolded him, and Grumpy cawed at you and flew back to his perch, turning so that you were looking at his back. Happy fluttered over to him, poking him gently with his beak, only to nimbly avoid Grumpy snapping at him. You pulled the pot off the fire, filling a few bowls with it and placing it on the table. The birds happily ate it, chittering thanks and swallowing mouthfuls of the steaming vegetables. Even Grumpy seemed to be reluctantly enjoying the food.
You poured two more bowls, bringing them into the bedroom. You placed one on the floor next to Gil, then sat down and began eating from the other bowl.
“Y’know, Gil…” You mumbled through a mouthful of carrots. “My birthday kinda sucked.”
Gil’s eyelids didn’t even flutter, and you sighed.
“I barely got to see you at all, I got yelled at by the King, I almost got raped by some Asian creep…” You swallowed another mouthful, fighting the urge to cry. “And now I’ve run away from my home, to find out that you’re nearly dead and…” You chocked on the words, eating another bite of soup. “And there isn’t a-anything I can d-do about it…” You felt a tear slip down your cheek, landing in the soup with a sizzle. “I’m sorry, Gil… I shouldn’t have tried to pry into your private life, it’s none of my business. B-But please… Please don’t leave me alone…”
You put your head on his chest, feeling it move up and down ever so slightly, the bed sheets damp from the tears you were spilling.
“P-Please Gil, you’re all I have. I’ll do anything to make you better, if you could only tell me…”
You whirled around in surprise. A little boy was sitting in the windowsill, his feet swinging lazily. He wore purple overalls and an orange shirt, and his reddish hair was neatly tucked under a beanie cap with white stripes and a little yellow pompom. His green eyes glittered mischievously, and he swung a basket full of apples around gently.
“Who are you?” You asked, cautiously standing up. He didn’t seem dangerous, and you were pretty sure you could take a little kid, but so much had happened in the past 24 hours… Better safe than sorry.
“I’m Peter. Peter Kirkland.” He said, his voice bordering on a monotone.
“Why are you here?”
“You ask a lot of questions. Are you stupid?” The little boy retorted, scratching an itch on his freckle-dotted cheeks.
“No!” You crossed your arms. “Just answer me!”
“Fine, calm your tits lady!” He dropped into the room, careful not to spill any of the apples. “My old man sent me, he said to give you this.” He plucked a bright red apple out of the basket and tossed it to you. Catching it, you held the apple up, trying to figure out why someone was sending you apples.
“Your dad? Is he Arthur, the guy with the bowtie and the goofy smile?”
“Sadly, yes.” Peter admitted, crossing his arms. “Are you gonna eat the bloody apple or what?”
“Is it poisoned?”
“Knowing him, probably.”
“How the heck is that supposed to help me then?”
“If you eat the apple…” Peter nodded to Gilbert’s still unconscious form, “Your friend over there will wake up. He’s been cursed.”
“So… If I eat this… Gil will get better?”
“Yay! You’re finally catching on!” Peter erupted into a sarcastically slow clap. “Bravo, I say, bravo!”
“Oh shut up.” You told him, and he merely rolled his eyes. You held the apple up, hesitating.
“If you don’t eat it now, he might die.” Peter added lazily. “I forgot to mention that.”
You blinked in horror, then, without a second thought, bit into the apple.
You were conscious long enough to see Gil leap out of the bed to catch you, a distant voice telling you to hold on.
<^><^> 2p!Prussia’s POV <^><^>
It was dark.
This spell that I was under was strong. I couldn’t tell where I was, but the darkness made me uncomfortable. I walked for hours, trying to find a way out.
Suddenly, in the distance, I spied a beam of light. I ran towards it, hoping it was the way out of this shadowy nightmare.
The darkness nipped and grabbed at my heels, slowing me down and making me tired. The closer I got to the light, the more I wanted to just turn away.
Something in this spell did not want me to get to the light. Determined by this thought, I struggled through the darkness, practically wading at this point.
As soon as my feet hit the light, the shadows shrank away with a hiss. I kneeled down, panting, then looked up at the source of the light.
It was a mirror. On the surface were a bunch of illegible markings, which looked worn with time. Instead of seeing my reflection, however, I saw a room.
It looked like it had once belonged to a little boy. It resembled one of the nurseries in the castle, it was even as empty. Toys peeked out from inside of a toy box, stuffed giraffes and trains and toy soldiers. There was a pile of old books in one of the corners of the room as well, although, unlike the rest of the room, they were not dusty and looked to be recently used.
“Hallo?” I called into the room hesitantly. “Is anyone zhere?”
“’Ello?” I heard someone open a door from the other side of the mirror, but there were no doors within the narrow sight provided by the reflection. “Huh.. I could have sworn I heard Gil in here…”
A blonde man entered my view, thick eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
“Gil, you twat, if you’re hiding in here I’ll find you, and I won’t show any mercy! You can’t just mess with a gentleman like me and get away with it!”
“Vhat zhe hell is un twat?” I said despite myself. The blonde whirled to face the mirror, green eyes widening in shock. He ran to the mirror, putting his hand on it and looking at me in surprise.
“Who the hell are you, and why are you in Oliver’s mirror?!”
“Oliver?” I jumped up, backing to the edge of the light. “Are you in league vizh zhat monster?!”
“He’s not a monster! He’s…” The blonde trailed off. “He’s misunderstood.”
“You look just like him…” Gil observed out loud.
“Well, I AM him, sort of.” The blonde scratched his head. “My name’s Arthur… When I was younger I tried to clone myself in this mirror, and… And I got Oliver.”
“He calls himself Arzhur, except for when he’s trying to lay low.” I sneered at the thought of the peppy psychopath. “He’s a murderer. And he’s up to somezhing, somezhing he calls zhe ‘finale.’”
“This is all my fault…” Arthur groaned, frowning. He put his head in his hands. “When I married _______, he-“
“_______.” Arthur repeated, giving me an odd look. “What, do you know someone with that name?”
“Ja, she’s got (h/c)(h/l) hair, und she’s zhe only vone in mein country I have ever actually seen grow up.” I blinked. “Vhy has zhat never occurred to me until now…”
“You’re close to the real world, And Oliver’s magic isn’t as effective here.” Arthur told him, racing across the room and grabbing one of the old books. “Interesting… He somehow managed to recreate our _______ in his reflection world… I thought he could only reflect people in, not recreate them.” He leafed through the book, letting me absorb what he said, his eyebrows furrowed in concentration.
“Vait. So you’re saying everyvone here is un reflection of someone over zhere?”
“Yes, and it seems that reflections tend to have opposite personalities…”
“Vhy do you say zhat?”
“Because throughout our conversation, you have not said the word ’awesome’ a single time. The Gilbert here says it nearly every other word.”
“Zhat sounds… Really annoying.”
“It can be.” Arthur stopped leafing through the book, the quick flickering of his eyes signaling he was reading the page. “Let’s see… Aha!” he pounded his fist on the book, congratulating himself for being so utterly clever.
“Oliver can’s use the spells in this book, he can only use the versions of the spell said backwards. So, I found a spell that may have been able to gain the desired effect in his world in which he could recreate _______ repeatedly.”
“Vhat is it?”
“It’s complicated and none of your concern, as he can’t even use this spell.” Arthur gave me an “um, duh…” look, and I gave him my best emotionless face. “However, there’s a limit. Every time he recreates her, he will have to start from scratch, AKA make her a baby. And, if he waits too long before recreating her after she dies, he won’t be able to do it again. So, that limits him, because if she dies and he’s in the middle of doing something, or he doesn’t have anywhere safe to keep her when she becomes a baby, he might lose control of the spell.”
“Und zhen throw zhe biggest hissy fit in zhe vorld.”
“Knowing him, probably.”
“Vhat can I do? I don’t vant Art- erm, Oliver… I don’t vant him to hurt _______! If he can create and recreate her as he pleases, zhere’s no telling how many times he could make her suffer!”
“I know.” Arthur looked furious. “Luckily, every reincarnation has the memories of the reincarnations before her imbedded in her subconscious. Or at least, she should.”
“Zhe cupcake dream…”
“Erm, _______, she has un problem vizh nightmares, but she usually forgets zhem after a half an hour or so, sometimes less.”
“Yes, exactly! So, we know she can remember her previous lives, more or less.” Arthur pulled the cap off a pen he fished from his pocket with his teeth, spat it out, and then began scribbling on a piece of paper he had found bookmarking the book. “So, if we were able to reactivate these memories, maybe she could help us figure out why Oliver is doing this in the first place…”
“_______... In your vorld, is she okay?” Arthur froze, staring down at the paper.
“_______ is a human.” Arthur said quietly. “She died… A long time ago, of old age.”
“Und ve are not humans?”
“No. We’re countries.” Arthur looked up. “I am the flesh and bone representation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and I will not be dying until my country and my people are gone. Which is going to take a long time.”
“Countries.” I repeated thoughtfully. “Ve only have four countries here, zhe Kingdoms of Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, und Spades.”
“Those are…” Arthur’s eyes lit up. “I know what the finale is! Well, I have an idea, but I can tell you and you’ll be able to prepa-“
My vision fogged, and I managed to see Arthur’s look of confusion, a fist pounding on the glass before the light and the mirror vanished completely from my sight.
I sat upright in my bed, and I took a huge gasp of breath. Turning my head, I saw ______ slumping over, about to fall, an apple rolling out of her hand and hitting the ground.
“_______!” I jumped out of my bed, running to her and catching her before she hit the ground. “_______, hold on!” I struggled to keep the desperation out of my voice, afraid that showing emotion might make her even more scared.
“She’s not dying, silly~!” I looked up to see Oliver/Arthur climbing into my house through the window, stepping down next to a little boy with a basket of apples that was regarding us all in a bored manner. “She can hear you too, so try not to shout in her ear, old chap!”
I looked down and, sure enough, I could see _______’s eyes open wide in confusion in fear. When she saw me, they relaxed, but the light of panic still glimmered ever so slightly. Her muscles were all limp, however, rendering her unable to move or speak.
“How’s my little man!” Arthur’s attention was on the boy in the overalls, who was holding the basket in front of his cheeks to protect them from pinching.
“Leave me be!” He whined in annoyance.
“Oh, alright, if you insist.” Arthur’s cold blue gaze turned to me. “How did you enjoy your trip into the darker areas of this land, Gil?”
“It vasn’t all dark.” I told him, keeping my face set in a straight line. “Zhere vas un mirror, und un man you may know, Arthur?” My Arthur’s smile disappeared at the mention of Arthur, which made me nervous despite myself. “You’ve got quite zhe past, Oliver!”
“Don’t call me that!” Arthur growled, his eyes flashing. His smile slowly returned as he walked over to me, pulling out a pair of kitchen knives. “You’ve been a bad boy, Gilbert. Poking your nose where it doesn’t belong.” He tossed me one of the knives, grinning.
“Let’s play a game.” His voice dripped in malice and pleasure at the thought of cutting me open and watching me bleed.
I remained silent, instead returning my attention to _______. I picked her up and placed her on the bed, leaning over to whisper in her ear.
“_______... It’s all a lie. It’s all a reflection in a mirror. This isn’t your world, and you need to get out so that Arthur can’t hurt you anymore.” I looked her in the eye. “Remember.”
And I plunged the knife through her heart.
<^><^> Reader’s POV <^><^>
You woke up, a scream dying on your lips.
You were sitting in your bed, drenched in a cold sweat. You had had another nightmare. You moved to your journal, to the page titled “Remember.”
“Thick… German… Accent…” You wrote quickly. As you moved to the next line, your mind blanked on what you wanted to write next.
Why were you even writing again?
“Hey!!” A pebble hit your window, and you groaned. “_______!!”
You opened your window, glaring down at the yard.
“GO AWAY ALFRED!!” You hollered at the olive-skinned boy. He ran his hands through his reddish-brown hair, smirking at you.
“C’mon! I just want to show you a good time!”
“You just want to get in my pants! Go screw yourself and leave me be!” Before he could comment, you slammed the window shut, flopping back down into your bed and groaning.
Picking up your book, you flipped open to the page titled “Remember” again. There were a whole bunch of half-finished sentences, traits of people you could not remember.
None of it made sense. You sighed, closing the book and laying back down. You kept it on your bedside for some reason. You could never completely remember why, or what was in your dreams that scared you so much…
You rolled over and closed your eyes. You still had a few hours before the sun rose. You could think about it then.