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A Rekindled Union: A Valentine's Day Tale Told Through an Austrian and Hungarian's Eyes.

Budapest, Republic of Hungary. 1990.

It was a particularly cold February morning, Roderich Edelstein mused as he walked along the Danube, right in the very heart of the Magyar capital. Across the ancient river, Castle Hill still stood proudly if worn down by time. A reminder of a more distant, noble age. The sight of a pile of rubble that may once have resembled Vladimir Lenin and a few partially torn Soviet slogans however snapped him back to the present.

“At least that fit of foolishness is ending,” the embodiment of Austria mumbled under his breath with a very faint hint of melancholy at the scene. Not so long ago, the thought that the Iron Curtain’s days were numbered or that the Berlin Wall would be torn down so soon seemed more like possibility than reality. Hopefully Ivan drops that Communist nonsense too, the neutral Nation added quietly, wrapping his overcoat ever so slightly tighter before walking again. Enough of that. This day is too valuable to waste.

If only he knew where he was headed. While finding his way here from Wien was easy enough even for him, getting around in the city proved a bit trickier. Perhaps it was the decaying symbols of Communist rule clashing with memories of Budapest’s more regal splendor. Or maybe the notion of finding the right flowers here rather than back home. It seemed a good idea at the time. It would not be a proper Valentine’s without pr-

“Well now! Still having trouble going around?” a familiar voice quipped in accented German with a bemused, if somewhat surprised tone. “For shame, Herr Edelstein. You haven't changed a bit, after all these years!”

Turning around, the Austrian saw a young woman in a greatcoat barely covering her rather vibrant if clearly weathered dress. What was visible of her seemingly frail skin still bore traces of pallor and grime, though had clearly taken on a healthier look. Yet she was as beautiful as ever. Down to her welcoming, green eyes. Gott, if only I still had…

“Then, bitte, I beg your pardon, Frau Héderváry,” he retorted, blushing ever so slightly before adjusting his glasses out of habit. “I was hoping to find the most suitable flora here for this, well, occasion. It would be very improper of me to be so thoughtless.”

Hungary let out a soft chuckle, the flower nestled on her brown hair seemingly going along with her smile. “You could have asked, Roderich. Besides, I have something better in mind for us today. Better than this cold, anyway!”

“But I have yet to offer a f-“

He was cut off by the Magyar Nation as she laid a light kiss on his cheek. For a brief moment, it seemed just like that pivotal moment in August last year. A picnic outside the border town of Sopron that marked the beginning of the end for the Iron Curtain. And reunited us. It made him wish once more that the past decades never happened. That we were still together… Only to force any notion of the past to the back of his mind. Not now.

Glücklicher Valentinstag, Elizaveta,” he murmured with a soft smile as they parted. "It is great to see you again."

Without saying a word, however, she then grabbed his arm, practically dragging him off into the crowd and a waiting Trabant. All with a coy grin on her lips.

“Better not waste time then! We’re just getting started~”

--o--

Elizaveta’s house had clearly seen better days, Roderich mused as he looked about the dining room. Then again, it was the first time in years that he actually set foot inside her Budapest abode. But much like the Hungarian city beyond the large windows however, signs of change were in the air. Fresh furniture, North American souvenirs and even newfangled electronics from Japan clashing with the drab “remodeling” done by her former Soviet minders. Though here and there still were traces of ornate elegance left over from a more distant past. From happier times.

It was then that the bespectacled Nation saw Hungary come in, carrying a tray filled with chocolates as well as the ever-present plates of goulash and paprika. Without the wintry clothing, the scars and sickly blots on her otherwise healing body became more visible. A part of the former aristocrat felt a sense of guilt not being able to do the cooking himself. Only to shrug it off the moment she sat down. It is not my place. Not anymore.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, drágám,” she sighed before smiling. “It’s not much but I really wanted something both of us could enjoy. After all, it’s the first time my people actually are celebrating Bálint Nap in years!”

“Is that so?” Austria asked with concern, forcing back surprise before clearing his throat.  Was tormenting her enough?! “I should have known those fiends would do something like that.”

“It’s not exactly all that bad, though. Those socialists tried replacing it with this Women’s Day thing. Couldn’t really complain about it back then, but I’ll be honest.” The Magyar’s green eyes stared at him, her smile growing somber. “It wasn’t the same.”

They stayed quiet after that as the two Nations ate their meal, occasionally glancing outside. The former aristocrat however found it more difficult to keep his composure even as he savored his former wife’s cooking. Was it because they were nothing more than so-called “has-beens” in this new order, their glory days far behind? Because he managed to prosper from his neutrality while she languished just across the Iron Curtain? Or simply because barely any living person remembered a time when they weren’t divorced? So much to catch up on. So much to lose…

“Deep down, you really haven’t changed a bit,” Hungary finally said, breaking their silence. “After all this time, you could have moved on. You could have gone with anyone else.  Nothing’s stopping you from leaving me right now.”

“I could say the same for you as well, Liebchen, he replied as he set aside his plate. “Besides, you had Ossi – I mean, Preußen to keep you company in that Warsaw Pact mess.”

Elizaveta smirked. “That’s one way to put it. Don’t think I forgot about you saving my people either. But Gilbert’s a stubborn jerk as ever despite it all. And word is he won’t have to put up with that DDR moniker for long either. Perhaps letting his people come to your land during that picnic might have something to do with it.”

At least that albino buffoon is in my debt for a change. The Austrian allowed himself a faint, awkward chuckle. Then cautiously, he tried to reach across for her. To his pleasant surprise, she didn’t turn the advance away, her warm hands firmly enveloping his. Looking up, he saw a mix of emotions crossing her face.

“You are right, though,” the Nation said softly, his deep purple eyes gazing into hers. “This age has not granted any of us favors. Neither can we turn back time and pretend the facts do not apply. But I need not change my feelings towards you.” He took a deep breath. “Politics and protocol be damned, I still love you, Ungarn! That will not change, I swear. Not now, not ever.”  

At that point, Austria didn’t bother hiding his anxiety and feelings, waiting with mounting dread at her reaction. Slowly, however a warm smile appeared on her lips, teardrops beginning to well up in her eyes. Then without a single word, she nodded before they pulled each other into a deep, passionate kiss. It didn’t matter by that point that they were divorced has-beens or small players in a rapidly changing time. They still had each other. Indivisibiliter ac Inseparabiliter. Till death do we part…

“As is my promise, drágám,” she replied as they broke the kiss, smiling as the sun set outside. “Boldog Bálint Napot.  And Köszönöm.. For being here.”

Roderich returned the gesture, glancing for a moment to see the lights of Budapest coming to life.  Perhaps the flowers were not necessary, after all.Für Sie, meine Liebe. Shall we continue?”

“Gladly,” Hungary replied with a warm if peculiar glint in her eyes as she touched a sensitive strand of hair on his person. “If you wish to spend the night, though.”

The times really were changing. No one knew what the future really held, for him, her or anyone else. But the evening was still young. That much, at least, was certain as they held onto each other.
A Rekindled Union: An Austro-Hungarian Valentine's
As it's still Valentine's Day, here's a bit a surprise. A new historical and Valentine's-themed Axid Powers Hetalia fic, a series that's something of a guilty pleasure as some may know ( tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php… ). This one, to be direct, is very focused on Austria and Hungary in Valentine's Day 1990, shortly after the Berlin Wall fell and shortly before Germany reunified and the Soviet Union finally collapsed. In other words, the end of the Cold War. 

If there are any warnings, this fic is a pairing of the Austro-Hungarian kind, which in fandom is also known as AustriaxHungary or AusHun. Though Prussia/East Germany gets amention.

In addition to nods to the source material, I've also added some other references to contemporary and not-so-contemporary history. It's also a sequel of sorts to a previous fic titled A Rekindled Anniversary, set in 1989 ( mdc01957.deviantart.com/art/A-… ). And while the story is ultimately hopeful, there is still a dash of melancholy, as well as some implied intimacy that may or may not be followed-up on in the future. ;)

Lastly, this isn't meant to be an ideological, political or propaganda piece in any way. This is a work of fiction that happens to have some historical context and inspiration. In any case, hope you enjoy! And a Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

-----

As for some references and translations:

Valentine's Day in Austria ( festivals.iloveindia.com/valen… ), much like in other German-speaking countries has among others a long-standing tradition of men buying flowers for their lovers. But not simply any flower, as it should meet the preferences of their significant others down to the fragrance and color.

Valentine's Day in Hungary ( www.hunglish.org/articles/vale… , festivals.iloveindia.com/valen… ) places more emphasis on cuisine and dining as well as bird symbols, though similarly to Austria places an emphasis on flowers. As an interesting aside, it was only after the end of Communist rule that Hungary began celebrating Valentine's Day again, as was replaced by "Women's Day."

The Trabant, alao known as the Trabi, is a classic car associated with East Germany that was sold throughout the Soviet-controlled Warsaw Pact, which included Poland and Hungary.

During the Cold War, Austria was a neutral buffer alongside the Iron Curtain. Today Austria mantains its neutrality even while being part of the European Union. And as an aside, Japan's reputation as an electronics haven reached their familiar state by the 1980s-90s.

East Germany was officially known as the German Democratic Republic or DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik), occupying the lands that had been considered Prussian 100 years ago. Today, Germans from the former DDR are still referred to as Ossi. In Hetalia, Prussia is shown as becoming East Germany during the Cold War, with a love-hate relationship with that era ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1CyPj… ). The DDR itself would end with the reunification of Germany in October 3, 1990.

The "picnic" referenced is the Pan-European Picnic (www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,…www.youtube.com/watch?v=Etkon5… ). Spearheaded by Otto von Habsburg (for the Paneuropean Union) and Imre Pozsgay (for the Hungarian Democratic Forum or HDF), it took place at the Austro-Hungarian border near Sopron on August 19, 1989. The event and those leading up to it saw Hungary open cracks in the Iron Curtain, hundreds of East Germans seizing the opportunity to leave the crumbling Warsaw Pact and contributing to a chain reaction that would culminate in the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Indivisibiliter ac Inseparabiliter was one of the old mottoes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was meant to signify the strong bonds and unity of the Dual Monarchy. In English it means "Indivisibly and Inseparably."

The allusions to the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and Austria's involvement in it (as well as the Hungarian diaspora to North America via Austria) are a nod of sorts to :iconchaneljay:'s They Were Once His ([link]).

...And yes, Austria still has trouble with directions like in Hetalia.

Bitte - "Please" (German)
Glücklicher Valentinstag - "Happy Valentine's Day" (German)
Liebchen - "Darling/Beloved" (German)
Für Sie, meine Liebe - "For you, my love" (German)
Drágám - "Darling/Beloved" (Hungarian)
Boldog Bálint Napot - "Happy Valentine's Day" (Hungarian)
Köszönöm - "Thank you" (Hungarian)

----

I don't own Axis Powers Hetalia. All rights belong to their respective owners. 

The preview image is courtesy of :iconshubolt:, from here: shubolt.deviantart.com/art/Aus… . So feel free to check the image out! :) (Smile)

*UPDATE* FF.net version is up! www.fanfiction.net/s/11045149/…

*UPDATE 2* Some slight typo fixes! ^^;
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A Happy Valentine's Day and/or Happy Singles' Awareness Day to you all!
haven't left DeviantArt. It's just taken me surprisingly longer to get things into actions.

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mdc01957
Migs
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If this sounds a bit redundant or repetitive, let me apologize now. But I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, whereever you may be!

As for me, I'll be off on vacation with the family starting on the 26th up to January 3, 2015. Meaning that as I'll be out of the country, I'd most likely have limited online access, though I would still try to find a bit of time in any case. Still, if you have any comments or suggestions regarding what you'd like to see posted next year, please let me know! And in the meantime, I hope this surprise fic would suffice: 

A Yuletide Waltz: An Austro-Hungarian Christmas
A Yuletide Waltz: A Christmas Tale of Nations Told Through an Austrian and Hungarian's Eyes.
Outskirts of Vienna, Republic of Austria. 2014.
Roderich Edelstein groaned as he finished his cup of coffee, frowning ever so slightly as he looked at his reflection in an old mirror. With his cravat, dress shirt, walking trousers and dark shoes, his appearance was one that few of his own people would even consider wearing in this day and age. Outside of formalities, at least, the embodiment of Austria nodded quietly to himself while fixing his brown hair and the protruding Mariazell.
Though if he were more frank, his thoughts were on a half-remembered dream, a snow-covered memory over 100 years old. Wistful shades of a Christmas ball from an age of Emperors and Kings now consigned to history, perhaps the last one before it all began tumbling down.
A wintry waltz, alone. With her. The Nation sighed. It seemed almost miraculous that after the War to End All Wars and i


So once again, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad and Maligayang Pasko! 

See you all in 2015!

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:iconlalahaha09999:
LalaHaha09999 Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello,mdc01957-san! I've just read your fanfic Vanishing Sky. I love the twist ending, by the way. Your fanfic has inspired me to write my own fanfic for PM and in fact, I am already working on its second chapter but I haven't posted the first one yet. I was just wondering if I can use the same nickname as you do for Lady Milky Way? From what I know, she still doesn't have an official human name like the others do and ai don't want to commit plagiarism or anything so I'm asking for permission. I'm probably not making any sense, so yeah. Thanks!

Last question: Are you a Filipino?
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner 21 hours ago
Apologies for the late response. But yes, I'm Filipino! :)

Also, I definitely don't mind using the names. Though you don't mind me asking if there's a link to your fic?
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:iconlalahaha09999:
LalaHaha09999 Featured By Owner 20 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
It's okay! :) I'm Filipino too. I haven't posted my fic yet. Actually, it's still written on paper. I've been really busy lately with schoolwork so I haven't found the time yet to type it in but I'll send you the link when I've posted it here :)
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:iconkyuzoaoi:
kyuzoaoi Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Student Artist
www.google.com.ph/url?sa=t&rct…

WTH I've been seeing? Could they at least used a Gundam model as references?
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:iconkyuzoaoi:
kyuzoaoi Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2015  Student Artist
They are going to shut down Ragnarok Online in the Philippines by the end of March.
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2015
Wow! After all this time...
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:iconkyuzoaoi:
kyuzoaoi Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Student Artist
It was kind of sad, indeed.

Did you played the game once?
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015
A long, long time ago. XD
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(1 Reply)
:iconheliosmegistos:
HeliosMegistos Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2015
I don't know to laugh or cringe www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwOfYg…
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