A Castle of Silence and Bones
The Axis Powers, Germany, Italy, and Japan now have absolute control, their three empires controlling the power in the world. Several countries have died, either with their people completely annihilated or assimilated into one of the empires. However, the fanfic begins by centralizing on Japan and China and continues to do so from there. China, as well as the entire continent of Asia has been seized by Japan and now belongs to him, although the rest of the Asia cast never get a scene into the fic apart from a few references. This is a Shipping Fic, after all, in a Darker and Edgier scenario.
China belongs entirely to Japan having lost World War II to him and being invaded by Japan. The fic draws much on Alternate Character Interpretation on the writer's part, having envisioned a much darker side to the characters. Japan is completely possessive and obsessive over his brother China, disturbingly Ax Crazy, (possibly because of the war, which in this fanfic has lasted past the 1960s) a Complete Monster and very, very much a Yandere. Over the course of the fanfic, Japan placates the military, the monarchy, continuing the war and trying to understand his emotions toward his brother, together with performing various subtle Mind Screw(s) on both China and the reader.
China, of course, is not happy about this arrangement although starting out completely humiliated by the actions of Japan, despite the physical, mental and emotional chains that his brother has trapped him with and being mind screwed slowly asserts himself and begins to use his own Mind Screw on Japan, biding his time and waiting for an opportunity to strike.
The fanfic is intricately written with not a single word wasted, and sometimes only needing a few words to set the atmosphere of the scene. dreams.of.destiny is an extremely skilled writer, who, with a minimal amount of words manages to manipulate the reader's emotions. A Castle of Silence and Bones is rife with Mind Screws, Mind Rape (on the character's part) and beautifully subtle hints dropped in the writing, not to mention the gripping plot, convincing OCs and unexpected twists, rewarding readers that look hard enough and those who re-read. A fic that definitely ranks as one of the best.
It can be found here.
- Ax Crazy: Japan. Subtly and creepily calm at the same time.
- Alternate History Wank: And how . The Axis powers won. Countries like England, France, Allied Powers, Taiwan and Hong Kong are dead and no longer exist (at least, soon to be.) The world is divided into three empires, Italy, Germany and Japan. The war lasted for decades. Emperor Hirohito married Empress Wan Rong of China and had a son, who ended up killing his own father and ascending to the throne.
- The fanfic even plays with real-life historical characters, like Empress Wan Rong, the wife of China's last Emperor Puyi and the Showa Emperor of Japan, Emperor Hirohito.
- Ascended Extra: In a way, Asahiko. He is introduced into the story as only side detail, but as the story develops it begins to focus on his character, actions and thoughts in later chapters. He even gets a fling with China.
- Beware the Nice Ones: China is a brotherly, parental, fussy yet nice and very feminine looking person. What happens when his own sibling goes all Yandere for him and destroys his dignity at the same time? He shoots him.
- Bittersweet Ending: Despite China finally free from Japan's clutches after he kills him, the country of Japan itself is being destroyed, the country of China itself is probably at a similarly bad state and the building they are both in is falling to pieces.
- From Japan's perspective, he finally manages to confess to his brother his feelings, but his brother shoots and kills him, entirely disgusted with all his actions.
- Break the Cutie: China was invaded, defeated, humiliated, his siblings are dead and their people annihilated, he has seen the world break apart and countries perish over decades of war, now his obsessive younger brother is all Yandere for him, violating him, insulting his masculinity, keeping him trapped emotionally, mentally and physically. In the end, China shoots Japan and kills him.
- Broken Bird: China. Indeed.
- It could be argued that Japan is one, to some extent.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Brother-Brother Incest more like. All the time.
- Cannot Spit It Out: This fanfic demonstrates a fictional example of this trope Gone Horribly Wrong. Unable to tell your Love Interest how much you love them because it would be, you know, revealing your emotions and leaving you vulnerable or overstepping social boundaries? Instead of going up straight to confess, just possess your Love Interest, warp their minds as a subtle insult and attempt to make them dependent on you, keep them far far away in a pretty castle and rape them every moment you have.
- Crapsack World
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Japan shows how to bring this to the extremes.
- Darker and Edgier: War? Check. Death? Check. Sex? Check. Incest? Check. Squick? Check. Mind Rape? Check. Rape? Check. Darker and Edgier? Obvious Check.
- Dead Little Sister: Sister and Brothers. Hong Kong and Taiwan are killed off in this fic, and Korea goes next.
- Dissonant Serenity: Japan first, and after he gets more and more insane, China exhibits this, showing how broken he's become. At the last chapters of the story random Japanese officers are being killed by Japan and their own comrades at the slightest mistake like daring to protest, or hell, even just exhibiting the slightest hesitation.
- Downer Ending: Japan dies. The castle is destroyed, millions of Japanese citizens are implied to perish, and China, though alive, is all alone now, what with all the other countries dead.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: China. (not that he didn't look enough like one already.) Japan dresses him in feminine clothes and puts ornaments in his hair, China's already-long hair grows even longer, even his nails get varnished. Asahiko thinks that he's a female initially.
- Everybody Dies: Implied and very obvious, several of the characters have been stated outright to have died. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, England, France have canonically to have died and the other Allied powers are said to be very close to death. Hirohito dies via poison, Wan Rong commits suicide, Asahiko is killed by Japan who is then killed by China. If you take it that a personified country can die by being killed by a collapsing building, then China can count too.
- Even the ordinary people are Dying Like Animals. In the last chapter the country of Japan is being invaded and bombed, as the personification himself dies it is obvious that all the citizens have similarly perished.
- Fate Worse Than Death: A near one for China from Fridge Horror. He's immortal because he's a country, can never die no matter how many times he's been abused and as Japan is immortal too, if the Empire of Japan had not collapsed as it did, China would had have to remain in Japan's clutches. For eternity.
- Gilded Cage: China has his every need attended to by Japan and maids, Japan feeds him and dresses him outright. The fic has also set Akasaka Palace as their residence, which in Japan is a National Treasure, with 15,000 m floor space and meant for the Crown Prince.
- except, you know, he's living there against his will. And at the mercy of his insane obsessive rapist brother.
- Love Makes You Crazy
- Love Makes You Evil: Well the fic description does go "the result of unrestrained desire is a trainwreck."
- Mind Screw: Japan does this. A lot. His dialogue consists of lines with the sole purpose of Mind Screwing his brother. And China does the same back to him.
- The entire fic is full of complex mind games among characters, and it will Mind Screw you and completely fuck with your perception of China and Japan as characters in Hetalia.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Japan stabs Asahiko, his Emperor, when he finds him having an affair with China with no hesitation at all.
- China, all well knowing what Japan is capable of, kills Korea (who attempted to rescue China) by pushing him out of the window so that he would not have to suffer under Japan's hands.
- Original Character: Asahiko.
- Purple Prose: Wonderfully deployed to maximum effect.
- Rape as Drama
- Sanity Slippage: All over the damn place. The first chapter is enough to convince you that Japan has long gone down the slippery slope, and once China starts turning quiet you know that some screws have gone loose there.
- Wham Chapter: Several. For example, China killing Korea with his own hands.
- Victim Falls For Rapist: Japan rapes China every chance he's got. In almost every chapter.
- Wham Fanfic: What this fic is through and through.
- Yandere: Japan brings this to disturbing levels.