WWII was won by the Axis Powers.
Imperial Japan gained control of Asia.
The world, as we know it, was never there."
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 (well, sort of), 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 Alternative 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, or because said longer duration of the war had driven him even further off the deep end of overprotective nationalism and economic breaking point/power-induced madness; Imperial Japan isn't remembered for being exactly sane in the first place, his behavior resembling wartime Japanese sentiment multiplied, amplified, only also super-concentrated and boiled down to an individual) 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 Original Characters and unexpected twists, rewarding readers that look hard enough and those who re-read. A fic that definitely ranks as one of the best; to those who can swallow the copious darkness.
It can be found here.
This story contains examples of:
- Alas, Poor Villain: The ending is sympathetic to Japan.
- Ax-Crazy: Kiku. Subtly and creepily calm at the same time.
- Alternate History Wank: 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.
- 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: Yao 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 Yao finally free from Kiku'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 Kiku'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.
- The final sex scene though is implied to have been everything he ever wanted.
- Break the Cutie: Yao 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.
- BrotherSister 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.
- Cuckold: When Kiku tells Yao that there is no one else for his captive to love, China proves him wrong by sleeping with their surrogate child.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Kiku 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.
- Dissonant Serenity: Kiku first, and after he gets more and more insane, Yao exhibits this, showing how broken he's become. At the last chapters of the story random Japanese officers are being killed by Kiku and their own comrades at the slightest mistake like daring to protest, or hell, even just exhibiting the slightest hesitation.
- Downer Ending: Kiku dies. The castle is destroyed, millions of Japanese citizens are implied to perish, and Yao, though alive, is all alone now, what with all the other countries dead.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Yao. (not that he didn't look enough like one already.) Kiku dresses him in feminine clothes and puts ornaments in his hair, Yao'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 Kiku who is then killed by Yao. If you take it that a personified country can die by being killed by a collapsing building, then Yao can count too.
- Fate Worse than Death: A near one for Yao 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 Kiku is immortal too, if the Empire of Japan had not collapsed as it did, China would had have to remain in Kiku's clutches. For eternity.
- From Bad to Worse: First kidnapping, then rape, then murder, then mindbreak, then mindscrew, then the end of the known world.
- Gilded Cage: Yao has his every need attended to by Kiku and maids, Kiku 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.
- Historical Domain Character: The fanfic also 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.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Kiku, yeah. Just him. All the time. Throughout the whole fic.
- Love Makes You Evil: Well the fic description does go "the result of unrestrained desire is a trainwreck."
- Mind Screw: Kiku does this. A lot. His dialogue conists of lines with the sole purpose of Mind Screwing his brother. And Yao 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 Yao and Kiku as characters in Hetalia.
- Murder the Hypotenuse:
- Kiku stabs Asahiko, his Emperor, when he finds him having an affair with Yao with no hesitation at all. If one knows just how much the emperor is revered in Japanese culture, with the population almost universally willing to throw their lives away for him, this is especially shocking.
- China, all well knowing what Kiku is capable of, kills Korea (who attempted to rescue Yao) by pushing him out of the window so that he would not have to suffer under Kiku's hands.
- Oedipus Complex: Kiku (the incarnation of the country) against its Emperor; the Emperor's son (Asahiko) against his country (a father-figure in the most messed up sense of the word).
- Original Character: Asahiko.
- Purple Prose: Wonderfully deployed to maximum effect.
- Rape as Drama: Kiku rapes Yao every chance he's got. In almost every chapter.
- Sanity Slippage: All over the damn place. The first chapter is enough to convince you that Kiku has long gone down the slippery slope, and once Yao starts turning quiet you know that some screws have gone loose there.
- Shown Their Work: Kikus possessive, obsessive, Yandere attitude towards Yao and Sanity Slippage is actually rather fitting considering the ideology behind The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Pan-Asianism; protecting their Asian neighbors, their family in the nation sense, from western imperialism. Just too bad that they resist and wont give up their barbaric, regressive ways, leaving them subservient to the western devils... but after some Tough Love, they were BOUND to love them and their holy emperor, and they would all live together happily ever after!
- Throwaway Country: See Alternate History Wank.
- The Unreveal: How the tragedy actually ends.
- Unreliable Narrator: A little more than halfway through the fic, Yao is seen talking to Asahiko, and in the literal blink of an eye, he realizes that years have passed by without his conscious knowledge.
- Wham Episode: Several. For example, Yao killing Im Yong Soo with his own hands.
- Wham Episode: What this fic is through and through.
- Yandere: Kiku brings this to disturbing levels. As was the sentiment in actual Imperial Japan, in his twisted mind he is probably just protecting his beloved brother from the (now ineffective and dying) foreign devils, even as all evidence points to the contrary...
- Your Cheating Heart
- Yao and Asahiko are the main example. It's never made certain whether Asahiko was seduced, whether it was a mutually consensual affair, or whether he knew and just didn't care.
- Technically, Emperor Hirohito is forced to commit this trope with the Chinese Empress Wan Rong as a result of intervention from Kiku.
- Assuming the history of this fic is the same up until WWII, Wan Rong's own marriage must have been annulled or ignored again.