Disclaimer: Hetalia isn't mine!
Summary: China wants to mend what was broken; Japan only wants to give it back.
It is raining here today, in the older parts of Kyoto that are rife with culture and the scent of incense. Smoke curls up from where the candles of the shrine had gone out due to the moisture in the air, and China is knelt before it and hopes that the smell will catch in his hair, so that he might sense it again later and in his mind, he will be thrown back here – here, where his heart beats like drums, where his eyes can catch a glimpse of serious eyes set in a soft face, or a glance at glossy dark hair framing pale cheeks.
Here. Here is where he needs to be, where he wants to be, and his hands fist in the earth so that the dirt gets high up under his nails. Japan. Japan is what he has always wanted, will always want.
The voice behind him is soft enough that China has to strain to hear it over the pitter-patter of rain, and he turns around and isn’t surprised to see Japan with an umbrella. He’s wearing a T-shirt under his coat, and a pair of denim jeans, far too Western for China’s liking but of course he will never say so, never give away that he still cares about the boy.
And he is a boy. Perhaps not young an naïve like America, but still youthful enough that he hasn’t experienced the true horror of a nation’s near immortality yet.
Pale hands are folded around the handle of the umbrella and he extends it in offering. China only shakes his head in the negative.
“Of course I am, aru,” he speaks up, standing from his kneeling position before a shrine he has no faith in. “You wanted me to come. And so I came.”
As if it were really that simple.
Japan tilts his head and the straightness of his bangs fans a bit to the side and he’s so young, now, as he young as he ever was. “I found something that I believe belongs to you, China-san.” His voice still brings a pang to China’s old heart. China always was a foolish one and he knows it (remembers trusting Japan, forming alliances and friendships and putting all of his love into this beautiful child, only for Japan to turn on him, on beloved Nanking – China still has the scars).
It takes only moments for Japan to reach into the inside pocket of his coat (always backwards, this boy was) and remove an old toy. It’s familiar to China’s eyes, far too familiar, cracked-wood and peeling-paint, the legs of it probably immovable and swollen from age. And he holds it out to China, and China stares at it almost pleadingly. “I don’t want it, Japan, it’s yours. I gave it to you.”
So very, very long ago.
But Japan shakes his head and offers it once more. “I do not need it anymore. I have no practical use for it. It does nothing but collect dust anymore. Onegai. Take it.”
China doesn’t tremble. Doesn’t sob or shake or beg for him to keep it (it’s yours, it’s yours, I gave it to you and it’s yours and I don’t want it, it will only bring about memories I would rather not have). No, he’s far too old for such childish behavior.
Instead, he reaches out and ignores the way their fingers brush when he takes the toy (ignores the way Japan seems to flinch back uncomfortably), and this old relic is tucked away in China’s pocket where he doesn’t have to look at it.
And he bows. “Arigato gozaimasu… Nihon-san.”
He stays bowed like that until Japan walks away. Until China’s soft shoes are buried in the mud and until he composes himself enough to return upright.
The toy is safe in his pocket. He will go home and put it up in the top of a closet where he can take it down and treasure it like it is meant to be treasured.
Like Japan was supposed to have been treasured.
What did China to wrong?