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Doomsday RE: An Ocean of Flame Above

Or, A 1983 Doomsday Tale through a Dying Nation's Eyes.


Somewhere near the Sopron Frontier. 1985.

The Nation found it difficult to tell what time of day it was. Then again, she was no longer certain of the actual date. The dark clouds and smell of decay had long since obscured any semblance of a natural cycle. All around her was an eerie silence, broken only by dust-laden wind and the increasingly erratic beating of her own heart. There had been a time when she still heard with some frequency the sounds of refugees muddling along towards the same sanctuary she was struggling to reach. Then again, perhaps fallout, starvation or the "Soviets" had already gotten to them months before. And against the endless protests in her head, she no longer had the power to do anything about it.

So this is the end of the world, huh ?! Elisaveta Héderváry sneered bitterly inside, only to force back a sharp jolt of pain streaming through her skeletal body. As far as the Magyar was concerned, all she had on was a tattered country dress, its once vibrant colors obscured by grime and scorch marks, alongside her a battered rifle with only a few rounds left. Like it would do me any good now. Her skin by then was almost entirely covered with scars and pulsating burns, all of which felt as fresh as on that September day when everything went to hell. If not for the wilting flower still sitting snugly on her brown hair, the apocalypse had left her all but unrecognizable.

As she gasped for breath, the unmistakable sound of gunshots and vehicles began ringing through the emptiness. A faint hint of Russian coming from those men was all that was needed to bring unfamiliar but unwelcome stirs in the embodiment of Hungary. It wasn't fear, that much was certain. But it conjured memories that she would rather like to forget. Nem, I can't stop now…

With a coughing fit, she frantically limped towards a nearby tenement, though not before seeing the distant figure of a particularly ruthless Soviet officer. Colonel Viktor Andrei, wasn't it? Never mind that there might very well not be a USSR anymore.

"You're not going to catch me again!" she panted under her breath as she rushed into the ruined building. Finding that it was safe enough for shelter, she collapsed on the ground, careful not to let any part of her show through the cracks.  

The place itself must have been looted months earlier, the Nation noticed wryly, the previous tenant leaving behind nothing more than a rusting pistol and some empty cans. All the while, the noises outside continued unabated, countered only by the screams echoing inside her head. Biting back the urge to scream she found herself gripping the rifle ever tighter. Just stop this…

She remembered it too well. Before the end, her now dead Communist minders were forced to welcome Russia's missiles and soldiers into her borders. Whatever motives they had, her people's fate may very well have been sealed. It wasn't enough that the flashes over Budapest and across her land had glassed, melted or simply burned many to death. Or that radiation kept clawing at her very flesh long after the first dark clouds appeared.Ó, Istenem…it hurts… After a suicidal attempt at invading Austria, those damned Soviets who survived devolved into glorified bandits, pillaging and destroying what little order remained before turning on each other.  Even now, the once proud warrior felt as though Ivan or his minions were ravaging her with abandon. And with no end in sight.

MAKE IT STOP! A part of her just wanted to end it all. Elizaveta's eyes soon turned to the rusting pistol before her. Did the previous owner back out from pulling the trigger, perhaps? There was still a bullet still in the gun's chamber…

"Nem," she snapped to no one in particular. "Not like this – IS THAT THE BEST YOU CAN DO?!" Using up what strength she still had, Hungary grabbed and smashed the weapon into the ground. The pieces of the firearm shattered before her eyes just as another surge of pain jolted through.

This one seemed weaker than usual however, the Nation noticed as she forced herself to calm down and wait out the mounting commotion outside. She may have lost everything, but she was not one to give in that easily. At least Sopron was very close now. And there was a promise with an old love she intended to keep.

--o--

It no longer mattered to Hungary how long she had forced herself to stay awake, let alone how long she had actually been staying in that hovel, time fast becoming hard to follow. Not in my sleep… She found it increasingly difficult to lift herself up from the ground or to even control her own body. At least the pain was subsiding, though that might have been from the indescribable lightness replacing it. Then again, she found it hard to feel anything apart from a sharpening cold.

"This…isn't good," she stuttered to herself, a bitter smirk on what's left of her face. "I was hoping to last a bit longer…"

The Nation had been born among the fierce horsemen who settled the Plains along the Danube. From St. Stephen to the futile yet defiant stand against Russia, she bore for generations the triumphs, strengths and shortcomings of her people.  But she was now on the verge of forgetting all that as she struggled to keep her mind from growing hazy. Her glory days were long gone. What was left of the Magyars had either vanished into the surrounding wastes or huddled in scattered, dwindling communities. She knew, if ever more dimly that the people around the city of Debrecen meanwhile had been more fortunate. Perhaps they would keep going, even found their own Nation, but she may never get to see their fate.

Neither the embodiment nor her children deserved any of this. But there was no point denying how pathetic her position was, as much as she refused to fade to oblivion. Even death from a crushing defeat in battle seemed preferable at that very moment.

What would you think of me now, Roderich? As her staunchest nationalists used to proclaim, there was no shortage of times when she had quarreled with, fought and at points even hated Austria. Yet she still fell for that musical aristocrat. Even now… She wouldn't trade them for the world. The days of the old Empire. The many times they made up. Made love. Savored and shared in each other's company. How they sought, despite so many difficulties, to stay together after the Dual Monarchy was dissolved and the Iron Curtain went up. How they had vowed to meet each other the night before the end. She knew he wasn't one to break promises. Neither would I.

"Nothing will…be getting the better of me," the Nation muttered with resolve, if wearily. "Not bandits…not that Russian – NOT ANYONE!"

Sitting up with strained effort, Hungary turned towards the direction of Sopron. At the very crossroads between her land and Austria's, it made sense that their secret rendezvous was to be around A Leghűségesebb Város, as she once fondly called the place. The fact that she still sensed, if very weakly, signs of vitality coming from there was also no coincidence, the Nation convinced herself. There was also something else at work there. Someone… Life had to go on, with or without her. Could it be that our d-

Elizaveta's thoughts came to an abrupt halt as she felt a numbness take hold over every part of her body. For a few fleeting seconds, she managed to pick up what seemed to be an aristocratic, yet anguished German and the faintest hint of a piano echoing in the distance before her hearing vanished forever. She had hoped deep down that her old love was alive and well, perhaps watching over their Ödenburg at that very moment. Hoped to see them one last time. But the last thing she wanted was for them to succumb to endless grief. All because of me…

"The world must go on…" the Nation gasped as her voice faded. "I'm sorry, Szerelem."

If there were tears flowing, she no longer felt them. She had already made her choice. Through willpower alone, the Nation attempted to stand up and make one last dignified stride out of the shelter, only to collapse to the ground as soon as the Nation's legs buckled. Choking uncontrollably, she kept crawling, every inch taking her ever closer to her destination.

Her eyes remained fixed on the horizon. Even as the world around her narrowed.

Even as her sight vanished.

Even as time became meaningless.

Can't die…can't die…

….just a little further…

…too close…

…I…



…can't…





Then at long last, there was nothing. At that moment, the last vestiges of Hungary vanished from the face of the Earth: another footnote in the global tragedy of Doomsday. From dust she came, so it was said, and to dust she seemed to return.

But not for long.
Here's the first "RE:" revised edition story for the Doomsday-verse, this one focusing on An Ocean of Flame Above, a rather dark fic set in the years right after Doomsday...and about Hungary's actual death.

This was done partly as a warm-up for the later "RE:" fics as well as tie this fic closer to The Vanishing Shadows ([link]), Partium's arc ([link]) and Sopron's ([link]). Likewise, there were some extensions, tweaks, edits and general heavy polishing done. So hopefully the finished result comes across well.

As a strong reminder/warning, this story is particularly dark, if not darker than the earlier version. Given how pretty much the entire story is a drawn out death scene unfolding (in other words, character death), it's still depressing to finish. Still, you can expect that things DO get better...especially once Hungary's actual fate is revealed.

As for pairings and characters, it's very much AustriaxHungary all the way, with hints of Russia, Julia/Sopron, Debrecen (aka the future Partium) and a certain Soviet officer that would reappear in The Vanishing Shadows. And apologies in advance for any Hungary fans out there if it comes across as though I killed her before your very eyes.

And just to be on the safe side, this is not meant at all to be a political/ideological/propaganda screed. This is a work of fiction.

----

As for some reference and translations:

The background events of Hungary's suffering were taken almost entirely from this source article ( [link] ), in turn based on Cold War-era scenarios on the country's survival, considering how the Soviets had many soldiers and silos in Magyar territory.

The backstory behind Partium can be found here: [link] , with Sopron here: [link]

Debrecen ([link]) is in real life the second largest city in Hungary, located at the eastern side close to Transylvania. In the Doomsday-verse, it was lucky to escape both the nuclear bombs and the chaos that destroyed the rest of the country.

Perhaps in matching the decidedly dark tone of the story, there are references to the historic relationship between Austria and Hungary that give a nod to the more hard-line nationalist perspective (the resentment against Austria), while at the same time showing the lighter "romantic" flipside perspective. You could call it a "love-hate" relationship, though it's more on the love bit. ;)

Sopron is the Magyar city and region bordering Austria, which is also affectionally known as A Leghűségesebb Város ("The Most Loyal Town"), partly due to the area choosing to stay Hungarian compared to the rest of present-day Burgenland in Austria. Owing to its location at the crossroads of the two countries (it's also known as Ödenburg), it is in many ways genuinely Austro-Hungarian, with the area practically half-German and half-Magyar.


Ó, Istenem - "Oh, God..." (Hungarian)
Nem... - No (Hungarian)
Szerelem - "Love" (Hungarian)



The title itself was taken from the English-translated lyrics of Hungary's National Anthem, the Magyar Himnusz ( [link] ).

----

The original/earlier version of the fic can be found here: [link]

----

I neither own Hetalia nor 1983: Doomsday. All rights belong to their respective owners.

----

Austria/Alpine Confederation:
A Wasteland Melody (First Version): [link]
A Wasteland Melody (Revised/Final Version): [link]
A New Symphony for the Wastes (First Version): [link]
A Symphony for a New World: [link]
A New Meeting for Old Rivals: [link]
One Unexpected Day: [link] (Part 1/2)
One Unexpected Day: [link] (Part 2/2 END)
A Wasteland Memorial: [link] (Doomsday Future)

America:
An American Twilight: [link] (Doomsday Prologue)

Prussia:
An Order Reborn: [link]
A German Surprise: [link]
Dreams of Another Time: [link]

Hungary:
Her Guarding Arm: [link] (Part 1)
Her Guarding Arm: [link] (Part 2)
Her Guarding Arm: [link] (Part 3)

Sopron:
A Wasteland Yuletide: [link]
A Child of Hungary: [link]
A Wonderful Time in the Wastes: [link]

Switzerland/Alpine Confederation:
An Unexpected Union: [link] (Part 1)
An Unexpected Union: [link] (Part 2)
An Unexpected Union: [link] (Part 3/Epilogue)

Japan:
Wisps in the Rising Sun: [link]

Partium:
Youth on the Plains: [link]
:icongigoxxiii:
GigoXXIII Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ohh god, this must have been depressing as hell to write... its quite depressing to read but in the good way not the bad way if that makes any sence at all.

As allways this is extremely good work :)
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
Thanks again! I wanted to make sure the death scene didn't come across as too overly dramatic or too abrupt.
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