The library was large and spacious, with shelves higher than your hand could reach, and large, ceiling high windows that let in the light from an overcast sky. The entire room was somewhat dusty and a little under-used, but you could tell by the way the books were tucked on the shelves and the marks on the binding that they were well-loved.
The thought of books to you was startling. How long had it been since you read from a book? Years before Italy invaded, definitely. You were fascinated by the novels and encyclopedias that stood before you. You couldn't help but wander over to a shelf and pluck the first book you saw. "War and Peace" Had you read that before? You couldn't remember.
You had only begun to flip through the book when a voice behind you spoke.
"Over here, Bella. And do-a please put the book back." Italy spoke in a quiet, yet authoritative voice that you dare not disobey. You shivered a bit, but silently put the book back on the shelf.
Italy sat on the far side of the room, at a small table with two chairs. Various snacks were arranged on the table, from tiny Cannolis to various breads and cheeses. A tall bottle of red wine sat in the middle of the table. Italy held a glass half filled with wine, sitting with his back towards you.
You stood behind him, waiting for a command to sit, or at least for him to speak.
Italy cocked his head to the side, listening to you shuffle your feet nervously. "Don't just stand there, mio uccello canoro, sit and let me look at you."
You complied, smoothing your dress and folding your hands into your lap. Italy watched you from the corner of his eyes, watching the gathering storm clouds outside. You followed his gaze, and the room was silent as you both watched the clouds tumble past. In the distance, thunder rumbled.
Abruptly, Italy sighed and set down his wine glass. He stood and reached into his pocket, fishing out a familiar pocket knife. You felt your legs go weak from the sight of it.
Italy continued to stare out the window, running his thumb along the edge of the blade quietly. He gave another long sigh and turned his eyes towards you. You couldn't help but shiver at the silent chills those eyes seemed to radiate through your body.
"The first day I heard you sing, it was at sunset. I was watching the sun vanish, I remember because it was bright red that day, like the color of blood. Then, there was this voice that floated over the town, much like a dove's at the first light of morning, si?"
You nodded, fidgeting as he began to walk around behind you. His boots echoed on the tile floor, seeming to mimic your heartbeat. Th-thump, th-thump, th-thump.
"That voice was so light, full of happiness and passion. I hadn't ever heard anything like it before." Italy was behind you now, his hand resting on the back on your chair. You remained completely still, not daring to move, even breath, for fear it would provoke him.
Suddenly, a blade was pressed to your throat, and Italy's mouth was bent down next to your ear. You flinched, but remained still, waiting for him to speak.
"I've never heard a voice like that since." he whispered. "And I can't help but wonder: why?"
The blade was pressed closer, ever so subtly. It took most of your self control not to whimper.
Italy chuckled. He was so close that you could feel his breath on your skin. "Would you care to tell me why, bella? Why can't you sing like I heard you before?"
You were silent for a moment, knowing your words here might determine your fate. The silence hung in the room, the only sound disturbing it being the distant rumble of thunder from the gathering storm.
You took a silent deep breath and mumbled a reply.
Italy let out an almost exasperated sigh. "Speak up, Bella, I can't hear you."
"A caged bird cannot sing."
Italy was completely still. The knife slipped away from your neck. The entire room seemed to hold its breath for several seconds, waiting for Italy's response.
He was so still that you dared turn your head to look at him. As soon as you did, however, you felt yourself thrown from the chair onto the floor. You gasped as your back hit the hard tile. Two hands came to rest on either side of your head. You looked up and into a pair of brilliantly furious violet eyes.
Italy's hands circled your throat. "I saved you from that hell-hole! You would have died if it wasn't for me! Don't you understand?! All I ask is a simple song, and you can't even do that!!" His hands squeezed tighter, cutting off your air. You gasped and choked, trying to plead with the Italian. You honestly didn't want your life to end here, at the hands of the man who had kidnapped you.
"I-Ita..ly...st..op..!" You gasped.
But Italy was too far into darkness now to be rational. "Why can't you sing your song for me?!" he screeched. "Why? Why?! WHY?! WHY?!!"
You began to feel your vision blur, and your head hurt from lack of oxygen.