You were both seated in the shadow of a huge towering tree. You watched as your mother sang a high, clear note that rose high into the branches of the trees.
Above you, birds chirped and sang the note to each other, until you could hear it in the highest branches of the tree.
"Try" Your mother told you.
Your brow furrowed with concentration. You took a deep breath and let out a note a little higher than your mothers. But halfway through the note you heard your voice crack.
This time, instead of mimicking the note, birds chirped and tweeted a series of broken notes to each other, making it almost seem like they were laughing.
You frowned and rubbed at your eyes. A gentle hand reached out and turned your face upwards.
"Keep trying, and perhaps someday, you will sing even better than the birds."
~ ~ ~
You woke with a start, as usual. Constantly struggling to survive had that effect on you. You closed your eyes and waited for your heart to slow before opening your eyes again.
Above you were wooden rafters, dotted with obscure knots in the planks. You were in a bed, it took you a moment to realize. How long was it since you had been in a real bed? The sheets were warm and comfy, and at the moment, you wanted nothing more than to curl up in them and wish this nightmare away.
But that wasn't an option.
You threw off the covers to your bed, only then realizing how cold it was. Your jacket had been taken from you, but the madman seemed courteous enough to leave you in your tank top and jeans. However, even those were dirty from beeing worn for such a long time.
The room itself was sparse. It had completely wood walls, no paintings or windows. The only furniture in the room was the bed, a dresser with a mirror, and a chair.
There were two doors opposite of the bed. Upon seeing them, a new hope surged within you. You rushed over to the first door and felt your hope fall when you realized there was no door nob. You pushed on the door, but it was locked. A string of curses escaped you as you leaned on the door, hearing something fall to the floor as you did. A note.
I hope you enjoyed your nap. You have a very pretty sleeping face.
The door next to you leads to your bathroom. I want you to be clean and wearing
the dress in the top drawer of the dresser when your escort arrives at eight.
If your cleanliness doe not meet my standards, I shall have to bathe you myself.
Don't disappoint me~
You couldn't help but shiver at that last sentence. The clock on the dresser read 7:15. That gave you plenty of time to get ready. Knowing Italy would follow up on his threat, you made your way to the shower. Everything about it reeked of cleanliness. The countertops, walls, tiles, and floor were starch white. Even the towels and soap were completely white. Italy was definitely a man of detail.
Using the sponge (white, of course) You scrubbed every inch of your body until you were afraid it was raw. You did not want to risk having to be touched by that madman if you could help it. However, this was a difficult process, considering how long it had been since you had taken a decent shower.
By the time you were done, you had ten minutes left. You dried and brushed your hair, leaving your clothes in the hamper. The dress Italy had chosen for you was a simple white sundress with a bow in the front and strings that tied in the back. Italy was also kind enough to provide you with underwear, you noted with a little disdain.
You straightened your dress and waited the remaining two minutes by watching the clock tick by ever so slowly. 1 minute, 50 seconds, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, 5 seconds...As soon as the second hand hit the twelve, there was a knock on the door.
"Are you decent?" A voice asked.
You stood and brushed yourself off. "Yes." You replied.
The door opened to reveal a man who, you could have sworn, had the same face as Italy. However, this man had messy, blonde hair, gleaming red eyes, and a curl that stuck the opposite way. There was a long scar that ran across his right cheek. A silk scarf was wrapped around his neck and tucked into his jacket, which seemed to mimic Italy's.
You had heard rumors that Italy had a brother, but never until now did you believe them.
"Come with me." The man said. No introductions, no explanation, just a simple command. You let out a shaky breath and followed him.
You watched him as he led the way in front of you. just by looking at the way he walked, you could tell he was different from his brother. Italy's walk had a certain swagger, almost as if he was slinking. He almost shuffled down the hallway, his hands tucked in his pockets and shoulders sagging. You considered speaking to him, but effectively decided against it.
You couldn't tell how many hallways you went down before you came to a a large hallway with tall windows on either side. You paused for a moment to look out the windows and try and peer at where you were. You were only able to see what looked to be a garden before you felt your arm seized.
"No dawdling." You were ordered.
You complied, but the Italian refused to let go of your arm, and held it to the point where you winced from pain.
At the end of the windowed hallway were a pair heavy, intricate doors. The man stopped in front of them and rapped on the door twice. From within came a smooth voice: "Entrare"
You were led inside, and as soon as you came into sight of Italy, you notice his brother's hand vanish from your arm. He stood behind you at attention. You glanced over to where he stood before a smooth voice caught your attention.
"Over here Bella~"
You turned, to see Italy sitting, legs crossed in an expensive leather chair. He had a knife in one of his hands that he was toying with. His chin was propped on his fist, a satisfactory smile on his lips.
"Grazie, Romano. That will be all."
The man, Romano, merely nodded and turned to leave. You wanted to call out to him, beg him not to go, not to leave you alone with this madman. As soon as the door clicked shut you felt a horrible sense of dread fall over you.
The room seemed to get colder as you heard an amused chuckle from behind you. "Come closer ragazza."
You stayed exactly where you were, turned halfway away from him, staring at the floor.
"Ve~ Defiant, are we?" he asked. You could hear him get up from his seat, and you suddenly had the urge to run. "We will have to fix that."
A gloved hand brushed your cheek, and you jerked away from his touch. There was a pause, almost as if he was hesitating.
You felt a hand connect with your cheek. The force of the slap made you fall to the floor as your head spun.
Surprise and shock registered on your face as you put a hand to the warm spot on your cheek.
Italy bent down in front of you. You instinctively flinched as he raised his hand again. This time, however, you felt fingers caress the welt on your cheek. The touch made you blush and shiver.
His fingers trailed to a stray piece of your hair, which he twirled in his fingers before abruptly seizing your chin.
You were forced to stare into violet orbs filled with hate, malice, and a look of...hunger.
"Listen, _______." he spoke in a deadly tone, and at that moment all you wanted to do was get as far away from him as possible.
"I'm not sure you understand, songbird..." he paused to lick his lips. "You are mine now. You belong to me. This is your cage, my castle. If you try and fly from it, I will not hesitate to stain that lovely skin of yours with blood." The knife in his other hand was pressed on your cheek for emphasis.
Your eyes grew wide as he spoke. This man was beyond deranged, past the border of insanity. His eyes and his smile depicted something else entirely. Something much more sinister.
You shook as you managed a nod. The deranged smile on Italy's lips turned back into a cheerful one.
"Bene~!" He put a hand in his pocket, and you half expected him to pull out a gun. Instead, a paper was gently folded into your hands.
"This is the song I want you to sing. Practice it, memorize it, and learn it. I want to hear it tonight at dinner." a finger twirled that stray lock of hair gently.
You shivered, but remained still, knowing the consequences if you pulled away.
Italy smiled and stood, leaving you on the floor. He turned his back towards you and strode back towards his chair. "Romano will escort you back to your room."
You turned behind you, surprised to see Romano standing in the doorway. Having no hand to help you up, you rather ungracefully stood, swaying a bit as you did.
As you were escorted out, you cast a sidelong glance at your captor. He was looking at his hand, the one he slapped you with. There was almost a look of sadness in his eyes.
Romano left you at the door to your room, and as you turned to enter, he grabbed your arm. "I'm saying this for your sake, so listen. You can't defy Italy. When Italy wants something, he always gets it."
You gently pried his hand from your arm. "Thank you, Romano." You muttered, not meeting his eyes.
The door clicked shut.
You waited until Romano's footsteps faded down the hallway before you began to cry.