historize: (canada--polar death)
[personal profile] historize
Title: Violin Sonata
Author/Artist: [livejournal.com profile] historyblitz, kept track of at [livejournal.com profile] historize
Character(s) or Pairing(s): England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: language, blood, sensitive history (partitioning of Ireland and Northern Ireland)
Summary: England and Wales in forced harmony, Ireland observes, Scotland gets a hair cut

Eventually edited and posted here






She pushed herself to get up. It was always such a struggle. Such a struggle...by God, her back hurt.. It hurt so much.

She shook as she crossed to the mirror and turned around, looking at her back. The mutilated flesh red and angry and raised already in hard weals. This scarring was going to keep, she could see. She didn't have many scars that stayed a long time but...this one...

She closed her eyes.

The Government of Ireland Act of 1920, To separate Ireland into two districts...

She opened them again and went to dress, covering smooth hips in brown and green and white and black cloth. She raised her arms, gritting her teeth as the scarring pulled on itself, and tied her hair back.


She went upstairs. "Oh...Scotland..." She frowned and opened the door to her older brother's bedroom. He'd been drinking again. He started drinking a lot when England's power subsumed his own. He'd slowed down when Ireland had joined them a century ago but this--the incident--


She flew into England's office, throwing the newspaper at him. "What the hell is this!"

England reached out, took it, gazed dispassionately at the headline. "Your land is being partitioned into two separate areas to allow easier and more efficient governance. Particularly with the... political unease there currently."



She shook it away. "Scotland," she said softly and went into his room, kneeling by him. He was on the floor on his front. He looked a mess. Dark-haired and barrel-chested and tall, he had seemed to her, from their very first meeting, invincible. He was the gentle giant. Quiet and thoughtful, not like her (or England). She was too quick to take to her fists. Too fiery. She was completely unmanageable to anyone but Scotland. He was the only one she would take commands from.

She gently turned him over and combed her fingers through his hair. "Scotland...?"

The maids refused to go into Scotland's room anymore. Since he'd taken to drinking again--only Wales and Ireland visited him. God, England had turned her great, noble brother into this...

She grabbed his arm and heaved it over her shoulders. "C'mon up, you great lug." She tried to haul him to the bathroom.

Scotland's brow creased. He grumbled. "Sod off, Wales..."

"M'not Wales. I'm Ireland. And you're hung-over. Now, on your feet, soldier." She staggered with him into the bathroom and dumped him into the tub.

His back hit the ceramic and he was dazed -- at least until the water hit. Cold assaulted his senses, knocking them sharp and clear and he cursed loudly, trying to heave himself out and not finding the motor controls just yet. "What the bleeding hell!"

She sighed at his cursing and yelling, folding her arms until he looked up and found her. Then she turned it off and knelt on the floor. "Scotland..." she reached out to touch his face. "Time to sober up, eh?"

He reached for her, pulling her against the side of the bath and putting his forehead against her breast. "I might...yeah..."

"You will. I won't have you being drunk. It's a pain in my arse. Won't have it."

He nodded and kissed the corner of her mouth and slumped back into the bathtub. "I'm sorry...I didn't..."

"Don't," she told him, softly, "you've lived a hard, long life, brother. Come on. I'll help you up." She grabbed his long arms to try and get him up again.

"Haven't we all?" he said in reply, sighing. Scotland shifted himself, forcing his mind to control his body and climbing up and out. His shirt and trousers now soaking. He gently touched her shoulders. "How do you feel today?"

She looked up at him. "...weak. I feel weaker. Weaker than yesterday."

His hand skimmed down lightly over her shirt, barely touching the scars--

"Don't," she said quickly. "It...it hurts. It's manageable. It just hurts."

His blue eyes peered into her face, hand hovering over the scarring. "I could look at it again, put something on it--"

"No. You'll leave it be. Come on. I'll get you some water." She helped him down to the kitchen and got him a glass of water.

He drank, replenishing fluids and rubbing his temples. His hair was getting too long. He needed a shave.

It was like she read his mind--though he could understand it. She needed a distraction too. "I'll cut your hair for you--sit back here, I'll give you a trim."

She had him sit in a chair in the middle of the room and hunted about for a comb and scissors. She cut it for him while he drank, refilling his glass whenever he finished.

He twitched when he felt little snips of hair slip down his sodden collar. "Tickles, witch."

She smiled faintly. "Be glad I don't cut your ears." She said quietly. She kissed his temple and kept cutting until it was back to a reasonable length. "There," she gestured. "Go look in the mirror--see if it's short enough."

"You like my ears." he replied, setting his glass down and then lumbering to his feet. "Ah, that's good, better." he nodded, then turned to look at her, stepped over and tugged her into his arms and nestled against her neck. "Thank you."

She chuckled and patted his shoulder. "Are you still drunk?"

"No," he said, muffled into her throat.

She kissed his temple. "Go and rest, brother. I'll be up later."

He nodded, sliding a hand over her hip and then up and into his hair, turning and lumbering away.


She put away the scissors and chair and swept up the hair and put it in the trash. She wiped her hands and went into the hall--

--and heard music.

An intense violin, a dancing piano. She peered down the hall a moment and then went down. Following the music, following the notes to a set of double-doors. She nudged one open.


England was in there, resting his violin a moment as Wales played the piano.

Wales had foggy gray eyes and dark hair and he'd been forced under England's yoke long before even Scotland had. He had not succumbed, per se; Wales had simply adapted. He was a scholar now. A writer, a learner and he spent his time in the library. He was the liaison from youngest brother to the elder two siblings. Ireland couldn't speak to him without wanting to punch him in the throat and Scotland, well. Scotland just became cagey and terse and unpleasant. Stony and cold. But for Wales, dealing with England had become an art form. So he played the piano, likely, because England had come in and thrown off his coat and picked up his violin. So Wales switched to accompany what England chose.

England had not played the violin for very long--not by their standards anyway--he had become fascinated with the instrument after Sir Conan Doyle began writing about obsessive Sherlock Holmes about forty years ago. England took to this character rather more than he would admit to out loud. So he learned to play the violin.

He did so now. Aggressively. Maniacally. Obsessively. He took a drink from a short, thick glass on the piano (rum, dark rum) and picked up the violin again.

England closed his eyes when he played, bow moving with all the precision of a English soldier. The swordsman. The sailor. The pirate. The monster in disguise as the gentleman. Like he swished his cane and tapped it firmly on the walk outdoors, he moved the bow and fine horsehair, streaming elegant and strong and confident over the four strings and their ranges of sound.

England only looked so intense otherwise when he was fighting. Only looked so intense when--



"It is not your fucking place to split me like that! I will not belong to you forever!" she snapped, snarling. "I am my own nation! Not for you to--split and partition as you like!"

He folded his hands in his lap. "You belong to me now, therefore I would say it is," he said coldly, "This would not be necessary if not for your repeated attempts at rebellion."

"If you would let me go and stop trying to possess the fucking world this wouldn't be a problem! But you just want to possess all of us, don't you! Can't be happy unless you're making someone miserable!" She grabbed a paperweight from his desk and threw it at him.

"The Union is not something to hop in and out of as your people seem to think it is." He sneered, after all, a union came from both sides wanting to be part of it, her people had come to him! As had Scotland's, yet they both--his eyes narrowed dangerously as he dodged the projectile, still sitting down. "You are a part of the British Empire and would you simply comes to terms with that, you might have things better."

"I will not put myself to taking your fucking table scraps. My government was weak when they agreed to unify with you a hundred and twenty years ago. It was certainly no decision of mine. I will never consider myself part of your empire. You are just a pathetic boy stuck in his own pride and pissed because of a revolution two hundred years ago that you fucking deserved. You're just like Rome. I am not the United Kingdom! I am Ireland!"

He hit her. Smartly, right across the face, he jumped up and his hand flashed out and took the side of her head with the back of his fist. "Of course, my most righteous and wonderful older sister. Just too good for everyone aren't you? Content to stick your nose up in the air to the rest of the world. I don't care for it."



When he fought, when he sunk his boots into the sand of the next country. The next unknown. She watched him. Watched him stroke the high notes--pause to take another drink of rum--and go on--building in volume and intensity--building, building, building--and then fading, lightly.

She looked at Wales, who was looking back--right at her. His gray foggy eyes peering at her and then back down at the keys, pressing and playing and closing his eyes again and feeling the movement of sound.

She almost pulled back--but Wales made no indication that he'd seen her to England.

England kept playing. So intently that his hair whipped back, his cravat flipped, his arms and shoulders slipping together and easing into soldier's muscles.

His intensity was admirable, something she wished they could have cultivated that in him rather than Rome...

Oh, Rome. He had come with his smiles and his weapons and his bright red-caped men. He, who when Ireland and Scotland went to fight his men away--he'd sent others--had already known their hiding place--others had come--had stolen England--little Albion, then--stolen him and killed the Celts there. Wales--it had been his first battle with them, alongside them.

Scotland had taken Wales to secret him away in Wales' land and Ireland had tried to steal Albion back and she had failed....

And Rome had taken little Albion with him to Italy...and Rome had cultivated that desire in him. The need to organize, to conquer, to raise himself up as an imperial power.

And when she'd seen him again--he'd grown into a young boy and he hardly knew her. Couldn't seem to remember the time they had spent together previous....

Oh, she missed that little boy that ran to her and happily jumped into her arms and gave her frogs and flowers.

She watched that little boy, a grown young man now--razing his violin like he raised his sword and struck down Spain and France and Scotland and Wales...and herself...


She staggered. His empire, his strength, was massive. She spit at him. "You think you've got the right to go about taking over whomever you like. Well, it's a good thing America entered the Great War when he did, I suppose even your men might eventually get tired of being ground up by German machine guns. I don't care about the rest of the world!"

England stiffened, the comment on America smarting. "You can't deny the world, Ireland. That's what you never learned. Now look at you." He grabbed for her.

She backed up a few steps, bracing her feet. "If you constitute the world than I will deny whatever that is to have my independence. I am my own--" she dodged back from his grab and swung her fist at his face.

He raised an arm--blocked it like nothing--punched her in the face.

Her nose exploded, hot blood gushed from her--her back hit the wall. "N-no, I won't...I won't have it...I...I won't let anyone conquer me...I'm not like you." She sneered at him. "I won't...I won't just roll over and let you...no, not like you let France and Rome take you..."



Wales lit up the piano, sweeping up grandly.

The violin took on such a desperate tone. So desperate for something.

For violence.

For acknowledgment.

For...

So harsh and high and England's emerald green eyes--so much darker and richer than her own light green--were shut, mouth tensed in a severe frown. His chest shuddered with breath.




Her words hit something and he shuddered a breath, his eyes flashed gem-like green and he had her. Grabbed her and drug her over to the desk and he smashed her head down, once, twice, thrice with loud, heavy thonks.

How dare she say that to him! How dare she! Oh, she was content to let his island be a buffer to hers, a barrier to the rest of Europe, content to isolate herself and act above everyone else wasn't she? Content so long as it was her bullying her younger brother but as soon as the tables turned--"This act is happening, nothing you say or do will stop it."

She tried to grab onto the desk to stop herself. She half-collapsed on it. "We tried to protect you from Rome--and then you come back just like the bastard. All that time with us was nothing...you..." she breathed, pushing herself up, bloodied, eyes flashing. "I'll always fight you. I'll be the thorn in your side as long as you live. As long as your empire stands. Because it will fall one day. Just like Rome's did. And you'll be nothing."

"Liar!" he said fiercely. "You hate me, all of you. Ever since I was small you have! Always tried to hurt me, put me down. But when it's turned on you, look who's the villain? None of you could ever handle that maybe I wasn't just a child for you to kick around!"

He punched her again as soon as she regained her feet, the anger coursing like a drug. His eyes jolted about the study, looking for something. England's fingers closed about the sharp, steel letter opener on his desk. "You are nothing, always have been. Always will be." He struck her and threw her down onto the floor. He dropped, putting his hand on her back and straddled her waist. A muttered word and she was restrained. "I'll show you. I'll make sure of one thing, no matter what happens you will never forget this, being part of me." The letter opener was in his hand, it's steel gleaming, made in Sheffield, in England; not a knife, but still poignant enough a tool to teach her this lesson. He was England, he would not be ignored, he would not demeaned, not anymore, he wasn't a child anymore.

He stabbed it into her shoulder.




He was still moving, jerking the bow. His eyes closed and his clothes--there was sweat on his brow. Ireland could not help but wonder what was going through his mind. Her youngest brother...through everything...she could not hate him...

Watched his face and looked at the map behind Wales, outlining the empire England had worked so hard for. So hard for.

Northern Ireland, now shaded in red...


England's eyes were intent and focused as he cut through shirt and skin and flesh, deep ragged wounds in whatever pattern he felt like. The blood coated the blade and his hands, made them slip but he kept on, maddened hate in his eyes.

The letter opener was standard, made of metal and at least three or four inches long. He tore it through her back. She started to shake, grinding her teeth and determined not to cry out--and she didn't--until he raked over her spine. And that made her cry out. There was blood all over the floor, on clothes and every inch of skin on her arms, throat and hands.

Surreal, he thought how good it was that the floors were wood, not carpet, even as the stink of blood ran rank through the air, clogging into his nose and mouth. It reminded him of years away, war in armor and swords and pitched battles fought all across the world. The hunger for violence in him, that yawning insanity below.

He couldn't tell how long he kept going for, but somehow, sometime after she made a noise, did she? Slim hand went around his wrists, a voice in his ear, desperate calling for him to stop. A roar of anger next and he went flying back with the first--Wales--and he looked over, panting to see Scotland bent over Ireland, hands shaking as he went to lift his sister.

"Yeh bastard! Yeh worthless little runt! What have yeh done to her?!" Scotland howled, tore off his shirt, desperately tried to stem the blood flow as England watched him, the entire event almost dreamlike.

"What she deserved," he breathed, the words seeming to come from lips other than his own.

She tried to say, "Albion--" But...that boy had been taken by Rome because of her and Scotland's inexperience and weakness. They had made England what he was...so...

Ireland started to shake, so much blood lost and she was dizzy and mouth slack when suddenly, the weight on her back was gone. There were hands on her again, lifting but opening her eyes made the world spin. She sunk.

Wales arms had wrapped around England, even though Wales was about as weak as a kitten compared to him, no hope of holding him back. But he did it anyway.

"Deserved..." Scotland gaped at him, "You... you're a monster, doing this to yer own-"

"Don't you dare, Scotland! I have more than enough memories of what you did to me before you start!"

"Scotland, take her away," Wales suddenly pleaded, voice filled with more emotion than England remembered hearing from him in a long time. It was almost childlike, frightened. "Please, get her out of her."

Scotland was trembling, looking torn, but the hot blood of Ireland and Wales' face made him get up. He held her to him, bending his head and whispering soothingly to her as he hurried upstairs.

England panted, shaking against his other brother.

Wales murmured, "England..."

"Get off me, Wales," he whispered hoarsely and was obeyed quickly. He looked back at his brother's pale face, feeling oddly queasy.

Wales shook slightly. "Go clean up, before Hong Kong see's. I'll take care of the study." he murmured.

The younger looked blearily at him a moment, then... oh... Hong Kong, of course, the child... it brought him to his senses, had him staggering up.



Fast strokes and then slower, slower, slower....fading entirely, picking up a delicate, piercing note. The vibrato caressed it, laced it out. He stroked again and went low.

Wales swept up the keys behind him.

England followed him, playing his strokes and keys like rolling waves and building again in strength...

So like him, she thought, putting a hand on the door jam. Like the sea...

They hadn't spoken since that day.

He made his way down the bow, crossing notes and blending them together and then lifting--letting them ring. His breathing shuddered and he turned to face Wales. He didn't say anything. He laid the wooden bow down gently on the piano and drank the rest of his rum.

And then he tore off the cravat and threw it down at his coat and drug his fingers through his hair. "I...am not well, Wales..."

Wales didn't say anything. Of course he didn't. That was the only reason England spoke in his presence. But he didn't seem to want silence this time. "Tell me, brother. Am I like Rome?"

Wales looked down at the piano keys and then up. "Yes."

England took a steadying breath and sat on in a covered chair, on top of his coat and cravat. He put his forehead in his hand. "I know."

Wales looked up and met Ireland's eyes.

England caught that tiny movement, of course he did, and looked too. He started, looking stricken a moment.

Ireland jerked away from the door. She hesitated just a second and then turned and walked away...





[[Notes:

I am not a citizen of England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland and I do not profess to know the extensive history of any of those countries. If I have offended anyone, I do apologize. I feel no ill will towards anyone from Great Britain and Ireland personally. I have family roots in both England and Ireland so this was just done as something of interest to me.

I also need to credit and high-five my friend [livejournal.com profile] katamanda because her England--especially her Imperial England--is directly used in this several times. As is her interpretation of Scotland and Wales.]]

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