Tea Leaves and Silver Rings

Axis Crashing

Match Twelve: Axis Crashing:

-Japan-

He didn’t need to see her again to make things worse. She came back to him against anyway.

Five days before Ivan left for Ikebukuro, Kiku received his visitor in the middle of the night. His eyes scanned the darkness when he heard footsteps coming towards the bedroom.

“Sena… -chan?” he asked in a childlike voice.

“No, my dear,” a woman answered in a low tone. Kiku’s heart froze in his chest as a pair of dark red eyes focused on him.

“No…” he murmured. This Woman in Red stepped out with a cat-like smile on her face.

“Aw, don’t be like that, my dear Kiku,” she said. “You know that as the end draws near, you and I will be closer together.” The Japanese man shook his head.

“I do not want that,” he said. She smirked and kissed him on the lips. Her kiss suffocated him. His instinct said push her off, but his body wouldn’t obey. She might as well have had those graceful hands around his neck. Was this revenge for being imprisoned in his country’s Land of the Dead?

When she pulled away, she saw the hollow look in Kiku’s eyes. Delight and disappointment filled the hollow thing she tried to call a soul.

“Why are you so afraid of me?” she asked. The Japanese man shook his head.

“No, Kiku-kun. Do not lie to me. I can see every thought and emotion in your head. There is no point in finding from me.”

“What do you want from me?”

“You know what I want.”

“Please, leave the others out it. They really want to live.”

She shook her head as she smiled. “It doesn’t work that way, my love.” She sat down on his lap on top of the sheets and stared him in the eyes. “Yes, as the end draws nearer, you and I will become closer, but we will never be one.”

“Let me go…”

“You know that I cannot do that.” She stuck out her long, thick black tongue and licked him on the bridge of his nose. “Not until I finish my will upon this world.”

“Please-!”

She raised her eyebrow. “Please? Please what? Spare them? Don’t do this? They are good people who don’t deserve this?” Her lips curved into a smirk before she kissed him on the lips. “You already know how I will answer. So why do you bother asking?”

Kiku lowered his eyes, but she would herself stay in his gaze. She wouldn’t let him escape so easily. She already had her hooks into him via Ikebukuro. How long before her poison spread to the rest of his body like in inoperable cancer? Would he be able to survive this?

“I feel sick,” the Japanese man whispered. She pulled him into her arms, smiling.

“Shhh, don’t worry, my dear,” she whispered. “It will all be over soon. You just need to lay back and let it all happen.” Kiku trembled as more of his soul filled with dread. Her singing in his ear made his stomach turn. He could only close his eyes and wish her away in vain. She buried her mouth in his hair.

“Feeling tired yet, my dearest?” she asked. “Just go to sleep for a while. I’ll be with you all night. Then in the morning we can talk more.”

-Germany-

Three days before Ivan went to Ikebukuro, he saw her again.

Ludwig had just got home from work when he found the woman sitting on his front steps.

The woman’s hands trembled in her lap. She held that piece of paper she had the first time Ludwig encountered her. The German man slowed down his pace as he approached this disheveled, skinny woman.

“It’s you,” he said. The woman’s eyes widened as she trembled. Ludwig held out his hand to her.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he tried to say in calming voice. “I just want to talk to you.” The German man took slower steps towards the woman.

“To talk?” she repeated.

“Yes.” Ludwig stood inches away from the woman now. “Why did you run away from me the other day?”

“I ran away?”

“Yes. You shouted at me to stop the car when I was taking you to Polanów. You jumped out of the car and disappeared. Where did you go?” He noticed the woman cowering at his questions. She clutched her thick red coat to her chest.

“Look, I just want to help you,” Ludwig said. “I can’t do that if you won’t give me any straight answers.” The woman’s body language said that she wanted to run away from his tone getting louder towards her. Her wide eyes welled up with tears. Ludwig sighed and rubbed his forehead.

“I’m sorry,” he said in a soft voice. “I won’t raise my voice again.” The German man took a breath and changed his method.

“Just tell me why you want to go to Polanów so badly,” he said. “Do you have family there?” The woman shook her head.

“Are you trying to find their graves?”

She shook her head again.

“What about friends or a lover?”

The woman moved her hand to her chest when he said “lover”. Ludwig had the feeling that he might have stumbled upon something here.

“Is this lover alive or dead?” he asked. The woman shook her head again.

“Are you trying to go to Polanów to find this lover?” Ludwig asked. “Do you still want me to take you there?” The woman clutched her coat tighter and she looked down at the piece of paper in her other hand. Ludwig had the feeling like they were about to go in circles again.

“If you need me to take you there, I’ll be happy to help,” he said. The woman lifted her head with a thousand-year stare.

“Are you feeling okay?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Gilbert had walked up to the gate at Ludwig’s house. He happened to look into the yard and noticed Ludwig talking what looked like an empty flight of stairs. The Prussian man walked over with a confused look on his face.

Who is West talking to? Has he…?

The more Prussia watched his younger brother seemingly talk to thin air on the steps, the more an underlying hint of dread began to perk up in his gut. Gilbert shook his head. Surely it was too early for that to be rearing its ugly head. After all, the older countries hadn’t seen the signs...

Yet…

-Italy-

Despite being a young country, the Wasteland started to hit Feliciano the night before Ivan went to Ikebukuro.

Feliciano had a dream about Lovino standing in front of him in the darkness. His older brother drew out a gun and pointed it at him. Feliciano stared wide-eyed at the older country. He couldn’t see what led up to this point.

“Why?” the younger country asked. Tears formed in Lovino’s eyes. His lips began to move.

“I am so sorry, brother,” he said in a hoarse voice. “You are too good to see the world like this.”

Bang!

Feliciano’s body fell backwards in the silence.

The Italian man had this dream for five nights in a row now. It always started out the same. It didn’t make sense. Lovino wouldn’t try to kill him. Would he?

Feliciano’s cell phone rang in the middle of the night.

“H-H-Hello?” the Italian man said in a trembling voice.

“Hey, brother,” Lovino said on the other line. “I’m going to be working late tonight. You probably won’t see me until the morning.” It took a little while for the words to sink in.

“Oh,” Feliciano said, nodding. “I see. Alright.”

“You sounding okay?” his brother asked.

“Why?”

“Did you have another nightmare or something, you idiot?”

Feliciano pressed his lips together. “Lovino.”

“What is it, moron?”

The younger brother trembled on his side of the phone and clutched it. “Would you ever kill me?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Tell me! Would you?”

Lovino sighed over the phone. “No.”

“What if you had to?”

“Where is all of this coming from?”

“I’m scared.”

“Of what?”

Feliciano shook his head. “I don’t know.”

“You’re not making any sense.”

The younger brother sighed. “Good night, big brother.” He hung up before Lovino could ask any more questions. He couldn’t quite grasp what was unfolding around the whole world just yet. His reoccurring nightmare felt too real. However, he had another feeling that he inadvertently brought doom by opening his mouth last month about that wicked Woman in Red.

Even so, Feliciano didn’t even know the half of it.

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