(ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Spare content! Final Loop’s Original Chapter 3
Figure I should put this back on the internet since I took it down. I actually forgot about this chapter’s existence until something reminded me that I’d tried my hand at an Israel + assorted Middle Eastern OCs in Final Loop before scrapping the chapter.
Why did I write it? MIDDLE EAST REPRESENT! Actually, this was just me trying to figure out who America would gravitate to during the healing part of Final Loop before I decided he should be the flaming douche-monkey of Recovery. I like Isolated!Alfred a lot more than the one here, so in between the last two chapters of Final Loop, I took this one down.
Now that I’ve re-read it, I realize this is where the idea of Italy’s arm healing actually came from. The Key chapter kinda relied on the headcanon developed here…
(ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS YAAAAYY!
America had a strong stomach, but Italy’s journal just knew how to twist and rot and boil. He had a strong stomach, he could eat as much of anything he wanted, but he couldn’t stomach what he was being told.
He couldn’t handle what he’d done.
Certain lines of the journal triggered memories, it wasn’t every word on every page, just select passages, little bits and pieces.
The line this time was ‘America and I were the last ones, but now I’m alone again.’ He watched that guy Iceland read them but heard Italy’s voice instead, and it just… everything stopped.
“I’m sorry, I’ll do it properly next time!”
“I have to, you- you’re bleeding… You can’t walk like that…”
It was hard to go through something like that with your best friends, because after it was over America didn’t want to go near England or France or Japan. He had a lot of problems with Iraq but he let the other nation follow close behind him. It took a lot of stamina to deal with Israel when he was in one of his moods, and being around the other Arab states was usually what set him off, but America tolerated his shadow. He just wished the lot of them would be quiet for a few minutes.
America couldn’t decide whether he wanted to deal with the bickering behind him- Qatar was making snide remarks about Yemen and riling up Oman. Should he fix it now or was it better to give in and experience the memory trying to push its way through instead? Mexico was somewhere mixed up in the crowd behind him even though he didn’t belong there, following the pack. America half-wished Saudi Arabia would just grab his brothers and find someone else to bother, but the OPEC master seemed to be enjoying himself as he floated a few feet behind America.
He reached a door and shoved it open, sunlight and wind touching his hair and blowing through his jacket as he found just a little bit of a reprieve. This hotel had a garden and walking paths, being outside was better than staying cooped up in the conference hall. He’d spent too long inside walls, he had to be outside for a little bit. Just a short while.
“This has to be the last time!”
“No, if I try once more, I-!”
The fountain drew him to it with its sound, he usually hated funky European art but the fish centrepiece didn’t bother him at all. He walked up to it and tried to sit down on the edge of the basin, rubbing one hand over his face and skewing his glasses as he tried to think. He not only felt stupid for thinking things would be that easy, that the countries around him would just shut up, and he felt angry.
America didn’t even know who said what first, Israel or Lebanon, but suddenly the two countries were tussling again and Jordan was laughing. Syria kicked his brother but that didn’t do any good and Kuwait started shouting at them to all be quiet while Qatar and the Emirates-
“Shut the hell up! ALL OF YOU!” He just wanted to sit, he just wanted quiet. Why did everyone else get a merry band to just sit around them and be sympathetic and shit? Why did he have to put up with this crap? What the hell did the Arab world have against him that none of them could fucking sit still for more than a few hours? !
Shouting never worked with these guys, you had to use force. America did catch Israel as the disputed state was thrust towards him, but gave him another shove for good measure to make the pipsqueak quiet down. Lebanon had his teeth bared like a small dog getting ready to yap at him, but Syria wrapped one arm around his baby brother’s neck and caught him in a quick choke-hold to keep him from doing anything really stupid.
“Hah! You bastard it serves you right!” Shut up, Israel. “You can’t touch me like that! Now you’ll be sorry! No one touches me!” Shut up. ”You started it again! I never start anything! You’re just some pig-faced basta-“
“I said shut-” It didn’t break, the thing inside that let his anger come out. America didn’t snap, but he twitched, he jumped, he felt something shift and it was only by a little bit. “-your-“ That he got so angry as a result was terrifying, but he turned and grabbed the young Jewish state by the collar of his grey suit, hoisting the child up before letting him fly at the fountain. “-mouth!”
Israel made a big splash as he hit the water, reappearing almost instantly spluttering and gasping under the spray raining down on his head. There was a smacking sound behind America before he turned to see Saudi Arabia’s hands clamped firmly over the mouths of the adolescent Qatar and UAE. Arabia looked worried for a moment, and it wasn’t until America noticed something metallic bouncing on the oil baron’s shoulder that the uncomfortable expression made sense.
“Can you really blame them?” Arabia spoke the words but he wasn’t addressing America. This was good: he needed a minute to calm down. “Turkey, be reasonable. With all the strange things happening…”
“With all the strange things happening, they should be even more careful about not getting into trouble.” Turkey’s voice was deep and comfortable behind Arabia, but the sword’s tip bounced off the other country’s shoulder before it hissed back into its sheathe. “Take the boys inside, they’ll be putting away lunch soon.”
“Mm… You’re such an ass.” But Arabia didn’t argue. Under his red-checkered keffiyeh his attention swung back around to America before he bobbed his head slightly, taking a step back and dragging the two smaller nations with him. Qatar almost tripped but his brother UAE caught his elbow, Arabia changing his hold from their mouths to grab their shoulders, turning so the three of them could leave before Yemen and Oman decided to follow.
“Ow ow ow! Stop!”
“You car-stealing brat! I should just- Ow! Ow! Why!”
Syria had a grip on Lebanon’s ear and was twisting the lobe up painfully before Egypt’s hand started doing the same thing to the older brother. Syria and Lebanon looked almost exactly the same: olive skin painted with a red blush, short, straight black hair and dark brown eyes made them look innocent, but they weren’t to be trusted alone around one another.
Egypt’s face gave away nothing as he ignored Syria’s whining and kept pinching his ear. He just stood with one hand on his hip and the other pulling on the teen’s head, forcing the other country up onto his toes trying to keep the lobe attached. Kuwait was standing behind Egypt, her dark skin betraying an angry blush as she nursed her own ears, careful of the large gold earrings hanging there. The rings on her fingers caught the light, several necklaces hanging around her throat…
“You’ll take them inside, right?” Turkey’s suggestion, or maybe it was an order.
“Mm.” Egypt wasn’t one to talk very much, but he let go of Syria’s ear and gestured for all three of the smaller nations to follow him back into the building.
“Big… jerk.. you’re such a… jerk…” The wet, dripping sound of Israel pulling himself out of the fountain was hardly audible, but the dependant state was trembling a little as he muttered under his breath and retreated out of sight. There were other doors, other ways of getting back to his room to change.
With the kids, Egypt, and Arabia gone, that left America standing there with Turkey. He was trying so hard to get the blood to stop roaring in his ears that he didn’t know what kind of look he was giving the Republic.
“You look upset, Mr. America.” Turkey had his arms folded, his white mask on and a red fez sitting on his head. His green jacket was regal looking, a tattered white scarf flung around his neck as he wore a calm smile on his face. America felt himself getting a little weak in the knees and sat down again, finally able to hear the fountain splashing behind him.
“By them? I thought you’d be used to it by now…” Yes by them, but no at the same time. America was mad at the Arab states for fighting again now, but he knew what was happening well enough to recognize that the anger was misdirected. “Mexico ran to get Egypt… I’m surprised he didn’t come back.”
“…I yelled at him.” Last night when they’d all retired, Mexico had tried to talk to him and America had just completely lost his head. He hadn’t known what had set him off so badly, but hearing the reading today… he understood. “God I… I shot him…”
“Italy…” He’d shot him. He’d shot Italy? How could he have…?
“…Why?” Was it so easy for Turkey to accept it? He didn’t ask if America was sure he’d done it, he jumped straight to the why. The bile in America’s stomach started turning again, his anger manifesting itself inside as the burning became enough to try making him sick. Taking off his glasses, America let his face fall and rest on one hand, his glove sticking to his face where the skin was damp with sweat. It wasn’t hot out, he hadn’t used too much strength on Israel, but he felt sick just the same.
“Everyone was dead. The reading today, it…” ‘America and I were the last ones, but now I’m alone again.’ That was how Italy described it to the world, but that wasn’t what happened…
“Everyone was dead, I remember it. The two of us were going to go back together and fix it but… the Thing…” He’d been injured. America’s belly had been sliced straight open, one of his arms wounded at the elbow so he couldn’t move it. There had been so much blood, more of it on the floor than inside of him. “He said he was going to go back again and fix it… and I…”
“This has to be the last time, Italy.”
“No! No! I’ll fix it. I’ll hide the keys to the clock room this time and-“
Pain, he was so sick and dizzy with pain. America couldn’t even breathe anymore it was so terrible, his chest felt like someone had poured crude straight down his throat, drowning his lungs, gumming up his mind. His mangled arm was pressed down over his open torso. Italy’s hands were on his shoulders and so much of America’s blood had soaked through Veneziano’s uniform… Too much blood.
There was blood on the Axis Power’s face, Italy had brushed his own hair back and left the streak there.
“Italy carried me through the house. He brought me to the room with the rug and the television and laid me down on the couch…”
“Next time will be the last time, I’ll set you all free!”
“Stop, Italy.” He had to run away. He could take America’s gun- America could feel it pressed against his good hand under his hip, the handle was worn from years of use but it would still do its job. “Take… take my-“
“It’s chasing me! I have to stop you from trying to protect me. Maybe if I’m rude next time, and I don’t act like me then-“
“It won’t work, Italy…” He’d just scare them if he did that, he couldn’t start acting strange and expect everyone to go along with it. “Let it end here. You have to run away.” End this, make it stop…!
“Then… I will…”
“So you shot your saviour.”
“Saviour?” America repeated the word like it was bitter, bringing his face up and not caring that without Texas he could barely see Turkey’s sombre expression. “We lost our lives for that key, again and again we died trying to get it, and he wasn’t even going to use it! He was just gonna makes us go through it all over again!”
Turkey was quiet… but only for a little while.
“But only he would know that.” Don’t say things like that… “You’d die again, but he’d have to watch it.” Again, and again, and again…
“We died for him… so many times.”
“And he died for you in the very end.” It wasn’t fair. “Did you kill him?”
“Me? No…” No, he knew that much. The gun had fired but… “I was too weak, he hit my wrist and pushed the gun away. I shot his hand.”
“And none of you noticed in the next loop?” Time healed all wounds. Otherwise there was no way Italy would have been able to hide so much- how could he have cleaned his uniform after every attempt? “…A fair point.”
Turkey had his arms folded, looking down at the ground where he scuffed his boot back and forth before finally taking a step. America didn’t stop him, he just let the older nation sit down next to him on the edge of the fountain. He wanted to ask why Turkey was even still here, but when he opened his mouth something different came out instead.
“I’m so mad…”
“… Explain it to me.” They’d had to die again, and again, and always for the same reasons. “Always?” Close enough. They either died trying to protect each other or Italy, it was never any different. “Or you died from your foolishness, your pride, your arrogance-“
“Hey, who’s side are you on, anyways!-?”
“Canada’s.” W-what! “Well, Cyprus’, but he asked me to come talk to you on Canada’s behalf. You have to stay away from your family members, and your closest allies were locked up with you in that hell-mouth.” America didn’t know why they were keeping away from each other like this, he just knew that he couldn’t stand the idea of talking to Canada or China right now- and definitely not England… Guam hadn’t even come to this conference…
America stared at the tiled ground beneath his feet, elbows on his knees and hands hanging under his bowed head. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do.
“My brothers are ass-holes, you know that.” Yeah, the Arab states were like that… “You need to talk to someone who will listen. Someone who doesn’t have memories that conflict with yours.” Which was the problem whenever he approached one of the others. If he said something, said anything then they would just… “And if you’re so angry at Italy, then you need to talk to someone who never knew him very well to begin with…” Someone who didn’t owe their life to him.
“If he’d just let us die the first time, just run away instead of standing out in the rain-” The journal didn’t mention rain, Italy had never spoken of rain when he made his pact… “-if he’d just let us die, this would all be over. I can’t help but hate him a little bit.”
“Just a little bit?” That was a cruel question to ask, and America felt his insides contort at the sound of it. He closed his eyes. Tried to think around the nausea.
He had a strong stomach. America could eat practically anything- even England’s cooking, without getting queasy. He was the only nation to ever drop an atomic weapon- two in fact, on another country. And then he’d helped Japan get through it once the war was over. America could handle cheap shots and stupid marks, and had carried the stress of fifty years spent deadlocked in a cold war with Russia. America could stomach anything the world threw at him…
“I can’t help but hate Italy… so much that… that I really wish I’d killed him…”