The snow was beautiful. Gratifying in every aspect of its existence; it put smiles on the faces of the unfortunate. That it lifted the rage and sorrow from those suffering at its heels.
Along came with it, the minstrel sound of a violin being played. It’s echoing tune travelled through the snow filled forest, attracting the attention of small critters, chirping birds, as well as a young man who had a reason for being out there alone. The sound pulled him, urged him to follow towards the source.
His small feet trudged through the snow that toppled up to his thighs, forcing an occasional shiver out of him. But…that sound. That melodic rhythm… He shut his eyes, and allowed the sound to guide him on his way, passing by trees, bushes, and lumps of white fluffiness that would have made him trip should he take the wrong step. The longer he walked, the louder it sounded, and he opened his eyes to see a man.
A country for that matter….
The young one watched with an entranced stare, seeing the movement of the bow in his hand brush along the strings of the elegantly shaped instrument. He had always held a fascination for such a thing. And to see it being handled in such a delicate way…he could only wish he had the time to play it, to learn it.
However those thoughts were erased as he lunged forward, covering his mouth when he started coughing severely. It broke the concentration of the nearby Italian, when he lifted his head and noticed the small child. The boy continued to cough, before it came to an end, and he shivered from the bountiful amount of snow around them. He smiled suddenly, clapping towards the other.
”You’re..amazing at playing the violin.” He cheered, keeping that oblivious smile on his face. He in returned got a confused expression.
“…You heard me playing?”
The boy nodded and strolled through the snow up to the man, coughing once or twice. ”Si! I-I’m sorry if I shouldn’t have been…but it was really pretty!” He giggled and plopped onto the ground, staring up at him. ”I want to play the violin! But…I can’t…”
“…You can’t?” he asked, kneeling down to him in curiosity.
His smile fell into a weak state when he shook his head. ”No…Mama and Papa both worked for the army, so I have my Auntie taking care of me! But…we don’t have a lot of money and..” He fell silent, unable to finish his sentence when he looked saddened. He sighed and moved his gloved hands around in the snow, trying to distract himself from the truth in the matter..
Warmness was brought about on his head, and he looked up at the kneeling man who had a hand on his head, petting him slightly.
“I could indeed help with your problem. Call me Italy.” He nodded, and gave the young one a small reassuring face. He reacted brightly, leaning and suddenly hugging the man, even though he seemed like a stranger to him, he was so nice. He could tell that just by one look. He giggled and left the country looked around frantically, unsure how to get him away and stop hugging him.
“Erm…I suppose that’s a thank you?” he asked, and the boy nodded enthusiastically.
”Si, si! Thank you Mr Italy!! My name is Federico…thank you so much!”
“S-Sure but uh…you shouldn’t get friendly with a stranger like this. People would be very aware—“ He was stopped when Federico shook his head and hugged him tighter, as if doing his best to squeeze the life out of him. He felt very awkward since children were usually more afraid than anything when they saw Italy. Obviously Federico ignored his warning.
Federico’s hands went weak and he brought his hands back to his mouth, coughing hoarsely into his gloves where eventually a trickle of blood escaped. Instantly Italy’s attention directed to the blood in front of him. The boy shivered again and wiped the blood into the snow next to him, watching it spread and grow lighter in colour.
”Mama and Papa said before they left that I should stay inside… that when they got back they’d bring me to the hospital." Italy inspected the blood as he glanced to it, and turned back to Federico. The young Italian chuckled and scratched the back of his lightly tone brown hair. Veneziano couldn’t help but sigh and crease his brows in a slight worry.
He then spoke. “Is there something wrong with you?”
The other nodded, ”Si. The doctor said I…” he paused and swallowed nervously, ”I won’t last the winter. I’ve been really sick since I was born. Bene! I wanted to learn the violin before I go and meet Grandmama! She knew how to play it, so we can play it together.”
He genuinely sounded happy when he spoke of family, and Italy looked down to his violin in his hand, then his bow in the other now. Since this boy’s parents were away, unable to look after him and left him with his auntie… how was he supposed to cope knowing he’d die within the next month? Why was he even outside then? Wasn’t his caretaker supposed to actually be taking care of the child?
“I could teach you in that time.” Italy spoke in a soft tone, when green eyes looked into magenta ones with a renewed hope in that moment. A wide smile broke out on his childlike-face and he giggled, nodding with possibly the happiest expression the 2p had ever seen in his life. It showed the light in hope he had just given him.
This boy…was so innocent.
So innocent, that Italy became like a father to him in the following month.
…That is…until time was up.
Italy stood at the head of a grave, surrounded by freshly placed flowers, and letters of good bye. In his hand, was a violin. It was crafted by the best, with thinned strings to hold its tune, glazed over and over to bring an everlasting shine of happiness to those who heard its melody. So it would never dull.
Like the boy’s happiness.
As Italy had promised, he taught him the violin. And placed it down, putting the additional bow on top.
“..Play well, and be with your Grandmother in heaven…”