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How could this school, the St. Hetalia Academy, be so universally lauded when I had never heard it spoken of before? Sounded more like a secret society than a school to me.
Tino Väinämöinen on the St. Hetalia Academy for Boys

A Hetalia: Axis Powers Highschool AU fanfiction by Angelsaurus in which the totally normal, completely average Finnish teenager Tino Väinämöinen is invited to attend the mysterious St. Hetalia Academy for Boys: a prestigious and secretive school for the best and the brightest students from around the world; school where the movers and shakers of tomorrow rub elbows while they receive their education... not that Tino has ever so much as heard of the institution.

At this strange school students are only referred to by the name of their country of origin, with Tino christened "Finland" by the school's Student Council. On his first day at St. Hetalia's he finds himself inexplicably drawn to Sweden, a student shunned by his classmates and rumored to be under a dark curse.

Tino isn't about to let a supposed curse get in the way of his curiosity about Sweden — a curiosity that leads to a burgeoning attraction between the two. But ancient paranormal forces, contemporary grudges, and a mystery that springs from the very heart of St. Hetalia Academy might just be another matter entirely.

The first chapter was posted in 2009, and the story wrapped up in 2010. Can be read in it's entirety at

Tropes in This Work Include:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: In a traditional sense, the seven members of the council are the only students who interact with the school's administrators; thus all official pronouncements and policy enforcement must go through them. In a more literal sense, membership in the student council (and consequent possession of a Golden Arrow Pin) grants a council member an extraordinary boosts to their natural abilities — Russia's increased strength allows him to fold the head of an axe like an origami napkin, America's courage and charisma make him the sort of leader people want to obey, and England's familiarity with dark magic gets amped up to the point that he can talk to the dead, summon fey creatures, and magically monitor the whereabouts of students throughout the school.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: China, the only student from China, is able to intervene when Ancient Scandinavia takes over Sweden's body and nearly kills Tino. Although China initially uses a spell tag to disable Sweden, Tino mentions China "standing over him in a kung fu stance." China later assures Tino that he could defend himself in a fight, as he's had hundreds of years to study the martial arts.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The Golden Arrow Pins amplify the wearer's natural abilities to a super-human degree, making them better able to serve the school in their role as Student Council Members. Russia's strength is increased to the point that he can fold metal and crush stone with his bare hands; England's "black magic" becomes powerful enough to contact the dead and summon otherworldly creatures; America's charisma, courage, and confidence are boosted to make him an uncontested leader; Japan's self-discipline and efficiency are enhanced to superhuman levels; Germany's organizational prowess and memory are augmented to the point of mechanical precision; France's "aesthetic sensitivity" (i.e. his good taste) is magnified to the point that he becomes a natural connoisseur of any food, drink, or luxury goods he encounters; and China's wisdom is heightened.
  • And I Must Scream: Berwald/ Sweden's fate, if Ancient Scandinavia takes control of his body for good. Normally Ancient Scandinavia can subdue Berwald's consciousness completely (which is why Berwald can't remember any of the previous murders Ancient Scandinavia committed while in control), but Tino's involvement has given Berwald the strength to fight back and remain conscious during these bouts of possession... not that it makes much of a difference against an ancient and extremely powerful spirit hell-bent on vengeance. Ancient Scandinavia teases Tino by saying that Berwald is like "a mouse trapped in a glass cage" at the back of his own mind — conscious of everything the malevolent ghost is doing with his body, but unable to do anything to stop it.
  • Axes at School: A literal case — Denmark is allowed to bring his heirloom family axe to school, as long as it's securely bolted to the wall in his dorm room. Not that this stops him from using it when he goes into a berserker rage and tries to kill Sweden — it only takes him a moment to rip the axe off of the wall, restraining bolts and all.
  • The Berserker: During his fight with the spirit of Ancient Scandinavia in Chapter 14, Russia is revealed to be afflicted by "Blood Rage" — a condition that re-wires his brain during intense combat. It can magnify an average man's strength and stamina by a factor of ten, and there's no telling what it will do to Ivan under the effects of the Golden Arrow Pin. The Rage also makes him unable to stop the match until his opponent is killed or Russia is knocked unconscious.
  • Black Magic: England dabbles in dark magic, but his natural abilities are boosted by the Golden Arrow pin to the point where he can commune with the dead and monitor student activities from the other side of the school. This is also how he was able to get information on the origin of Sweden's curse.
  • Boarding School: St. Hetalia Academy for Boys and it's sister school, the St. Hetalia Girl's Conservatoire.
  • Bookcase Passage: As expected of a mysterious, ancient boarding school. China has one in his room, activated by pulling the arm of the replica terra cotta soldier he has on display.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The school building is mentioned to be assembled from a hodge podge of architectural styles spanning the globe, but the result is said to be beautiful.
    "Big as a castle, it was built on a massive foundation of suitcase-sized stone bricks. But above that there was no unified style. Some parts were made of brick, others of wood, and others of what looked like concrete. Likewise, there were elements that seemed to originate from very disparate parts of the world, Greek columns alongside Chinese corbels and gothic buttresses. But oddly, it all flowed seamlessly and blended into what could have been mistaken for the architecture of some great fictional civilization."
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Denmark's battle axe, as described in Chekhov's Gun below.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • When Sweden and Tino officially "adopt" Flower-Egg as their dog, Tino takes a little charm he's been using as a zipper-pull ornament and puts it on her collar in place of an ID tag. He mentions that it was a gift from his grandmother, but after hitting his head and reliving his first meeting with Berwald, he remembers that the ornament is actually a shell concealing the crystal star he took from Astrid's gravesite.
    • On their first night as roommates (a flashback in Chapter 3), Denmark shows Tino the heirloom family battleaxe he brought to school, reassuring Tino that he couldn't use it even if he wanted to as it's been securely bolted to the wall. It crops up again:
      • What does he use to attack Sweden in Chapter 5? The same battleaxe. In his rage he rips the restraining bolts right out of the wall. Russia uses his enhanced strength to absolutely mangle the axe when the Student Council intervenes in the incident, but Denmark is allowed to keep it.
      • In Chapter 17, when Ancient Scandinavia is about to destroy the Foundation Stone (good!) and kill Tino (very bad!) with a single hammer blow, Denmark saves the day by smashing the stone with the twisted remnants of his axe.
  • Class Reunion: The Epilogue takes place ten years after the last chapter, at a class reunion taking place at the school.
  • Curse: Sweden is rumored to be cursed. Denmark is the one to tell Tino that Sweden's parents died in a house fire, his childhood sweetheart drowned while they were out on a picnic, and his last roommate at St. Hetalia's committed suicide. Sweden is actually the unwitting host of a malevolent spirit called "Ancient Scandinavia", who takes control of Sweden's body from time to time. All the "mysterious deaths" were murders committed by Ancient Scandinavia.
  • Demonic Possession: Sweden isn't cursed. He's possessed by the ghost of Ancient Scandinavia, one of the founders of the St. Hetalia Academy for Boys.
  • Deus ex Machina: Lampshaded — Just as Ancient Scandinavia is about to kill Tino and shatter the Foundation Stone, Denmark appears out of nowhere and uses the twisted remnants of his ancestral battle axe to crack the stone. He also delivers an Incredibly Lame Pun just for the occasion:
    "Looks like I got here just in time," he said, grinning. "That's what I call a deus axe machina."
    I had never been so happy to see that grin or hear such a lame joke.
  • Distant Finale: The Epilogue takes place ten years after the last chapter at a Class Reunion.
  • Elaborate University High: The St. Hetalia's campus is dominated by a towering lakefront castle/ mansion, with dorms, classrooms, and the school library all located in the same building. Meals are served buffet style in a large, fancy dining hall with mahogany tables and crystal chandeliers. There's even a subterranean hot spring that's been converted into a spa-like facility for the students to make use of. It's later revealed that there's a massive underground complex housing the nigh-immortal founders, totally hidden from the rest of the school. It's outfitted with a hospital ward, indoor stadium, and a trolley system to help them get around their expansive subterranean compound. There's also an airplane hanger with an exclusive private jet hidden somewhere on or near campus.
  • Extranormal Institute: St. Hetalia Academy for Boys might at first glance appear to be a normal (if not ultra-exclusive) Boarding School out in the middle of the woods, with strangely insular traditions and an Absurdly Powerful Student Council, but Tino soon discovers that there's a lot more to the Academy than meets the eye:
    • The school is still run by the superpowered, nigh-immortal Founders who established the academy five hundred years ago, and they live in a secret underground complex hidden from the student body.
    • The key to the Founder's immortality rests in the literal cornerstone of the school building and 14 magical pieces of jewelry, 7 of which are given to the teenage student council members to grant them superhuman abilities.
    • Tino's high school crush is possessed by the vengeful spirit of the only member of the Founders to turn their back on physical immortality, and another classmate is revealed to be a shapeshifting Founder in disguise who has been attending the institute continuously since its inception.
  • Eye Color Change: A sign of Sweden's Demonic Possession by the spirit of Ancient Scandinavia — Tino describes it as if "a vial of indigo ink had been poured" into Sweden's irises.
  • Fighting from the Inside: In the past, Ancient Scandinavia has gone dormant after using Sweden's body to murder the people closest to Sweden. But when Sweden's body is knocked unconscious by China's spell tag, Sweden starts to run a high fever — direct evidence of the dueling souls inside of him. China posits that if the spell tag weren't in place to keep his body unconscious, Sweden might begin to experience seizures from the force of the two souls fighting for control.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Technically, Tino has met both Sweden/ Berwald and Ancient Scandinavia. As a child he nearly froze to death while lost in a Lapland blizzard. Even a decade later, he still has nightmares about the incident. As the story progresses his dreams become more detailed, involving a mysterious figure who saves him from an icy fate. When Tino falls and hits his head exploring the cave where Astrid's tomb is hidden, he remembers that a young Berwald was the one who saved him from the blizzard. Berwald had dragged the half-frozen Tino to the very same cave to take shelter from the storm — only to be possessed by the ghost of Ancient Scandinavia when the two explored the cave and found the hidden tombs.
  • Fun with Acronyms: In-story, the original spelling of "Hetalia" was "Hetalya." At first it seems like a bit of historical flavor thrown in to spice up the text, but it turns out to be a name made up from the first letter of each of the seven founders' names: Helena, Evelyn, Torvald, Alessandro, Leopold, Yao, and Amunet.
  • Funetik Aksent:
    • Sweden/ Berwald's gruff manner of speaking is faithfully transcribed (with all the dropped vowels and truncated words) by the author:
      "I d'nno if I should g't too close, F'nland. It's risky 'enough w'th jus' you."
    • The same is true for France's heavy french accent:
      "France does not get distracted by ze beautiful ladies and gentlemen of zis world, 'e coexists with zem in perfect 'armony."
  • High School AU: The personifications of the world's countries are re-imagined as human teens living at an exclusive Boarding School beset by supernatural phenomena.
  • High-School Sweethearts: By the Distant Finale ( which takes place at Tino's ten-year Class Reunion), multiple high school couples have tied the knot or remained in long-term relationships (with a healthy dose of Babies Ever After):
    • Tino/ Finland and Berwald/ Sweden have gotten married and just adopted a baby.
    • Alfred/ America and Arthur/ England have been married for years and used a surrogate to have a child that's genetically theirs. Their daughter is a precocious three year old.
    • Søren/ Denmark and Olaf/ Norway are "business partners" who live together, and are considering having a child of their own.
  • Home Town Nickname: Enforced in the story - the school recruits one student from every nation, and they are referred to by their country's name.
    "I'm Tino Vainamoinen," I said, hoping to get the full story right away.
    "That's just your real name," the boy said casually. "We don't use them here at St. Hetalia. We call each other by the names of our countries, sort of like code names. Your name here is Finland."
  • Hot Springs Episode: Chapter 3, when Tino and Sweden meet accidentally in the school's underground hot spring facility.
  • If I Can't Have You…: A twisted version of this trope is at play— Ancient Scandinavia has been killing the people closest to Sweden for years. He's motivated by grief over his wife's death and spite towards his young host. If Ancient Scandinavia can't be with the woman he loves, Sweden isn't allowed to have anyone close to him at all. Later evolves into an attempted Murder-Suicide when Ancient Scandinavia moves to kill Tino and smash the Foundation Stone all in the same blow — destroying the stone would have exorcised his spirit from Sweden's body.
  • It's Personal: Denmark is adamant about Tino not interacting with Sweden and the most vocal student when it comes to Sweden's curse being a danger to those around him because the "childhood sweetheart" that drowned was Denmark's little sister Maren. He believes Sweden to be responsible for Maren's death and has never forgiven Berwald.
  • Mascot: Italy isn't officially part of the student council, but he spends so much time hanging around Germany that they've adopted him as one of their own. America even calls Italy "our mascot" when he introduces the council to Tino.
  • Maurice Chevalier Accent: The way France's Funetik Aksent is transcribed closely mirrors the English VA's dub in the source material, which is a heavy French accent that drops most "h" sounds and replaces most "th" sounds with a "z" — like "ze" for "the," and "zis" for "this," and "zem" for "them."
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Some of the contests between the founders and the student council are designed to test qualities like bravery or strength, and then there are those designed to test skills like "data entry" and "refined sense of taste." Germany and Amunet take part in a data organization contest, wherein they must speed read information off of files and correctly encode it into a database. Despite the unorthodox nature of the contest, Tino mentions that it's exhilarating to watch the two at work.
  • Murder-Suicide: A zigzagged version of this trope is attempted by Ancient Scandinavia, who makes a sincere attempt to kill Tino and destroy the Foundation Stone in one blow — destroying the Foundation Stone will send Ancient Scandinavia to the afterlife. The twist is that Ancient Scandinavia is already dead: he's a ghost possessing Berwald/ Sweden's body, and destroying the Foundation Stone would effectively exorcise him from his unwitting host.
  • Neck Lift:
    • When Tino first awakens Ancient Scandinavia, the malevolent spirit uses Sweden's body to choke Tino and dangle him over a cliff near the school.
    • When Russia and the Spirit of Ancient Scandinavia are pitted against each other in the contests, Torvald lifts Russia off the ground by his neck after regaining control of Sweden's body.
  • Never Suicide: Sweden's previous roommate, a.k.a. "Old Finland", is said to have taken his own life after rooming with Sweden — another victim of the curse that causes anyone close to him to die under mysterious circumstances. In reality he was killed by the vengeful spirit of Ancient Scandinavia possessing Sweden, in the fourth such murder the ghost has committed and disguised.
  • One Degree of Separation: A narrative concession, to conserve some of the relationships from the source material. Despite the fact that the St. Hetalia is a tiny, ultra-prestigious institute that only invites a single student from every nation to attend (with no overlap of origin between the boys in the Academy and the girls in the Conservatoire), half of the main characters have already met:
    • Denmark's family fostered the orphaned Sweden as a child. Sweden fell in love with Denmark's little sister Maren, but the ghost of Ancient Scandinavia possessed Sweden and drowned her in a creek. Denmark tried to kill Sweden with his family's heirloom axe. He failed and still holds a deadly grudge.
    • Russia is half-brother to Ukraine and Belarus (themselves half-sisters), who attend the St. Hetalia Girl's Conservatoire next door.
    • Sweden and Finland have a whole Forgotten First Meeting from when they were young children.
    • Finland also met Torvald, the ghost of Ancient Scandinavia during his Forgotten First Meeting with Sweden.
  • One-Gender School: The St. Hetalia Academy for Boys and the St. Hetalia Girl's Conservatoire are all-boys and all-girls schools, respectively. St. Hetalia's used to be a co-ed campus, until the founders split it into two institutions to prevent any sort of un-academic fraternizing. (Though as Denmark points out, the move hasn't really stopped the student body from ''screwing around"...)
    "So... the boys go with other boys here?"
    "Why not?" Denmark asked glibly. "We only get to mingle with the girls once a month at the most, and even then there aren't enough to go around. Besides, boy do just as well as girls if you've got an itch to scratch... The ironic thing about it... is that the school used to be co-ed. They only sent the girls across the lake because there was too much screwing around going on and it didn't even alleviate the problem."
  • The Pollyanna: Tino/ Finland. He's a kind, caring, and generally optimistic little fellow, even in the face of things like leaving his beloved family & hometown in order to transfer to boarding school he's never heard of. His internal monologue is full of reminders to himself to stay positive and to always be considerate of the feelings of others.
  • The Pin Is Mightier Than the Sword: The Golden Arrow Pins granted to student council members serve as Amplifier Artifacts, buffing the wearer's inherent talents and skills to super-human levels.
  • Really 700 Years Old: China and all the other Founders have been alive for over five hundred years. While the majority of the founders have retreated from the limelight to run the school from the shadows, China has been pretending to be a student (and holding the position of Historian on the student council) for centuries. He's "graduated" from the school over a hundred and fifty times.
  • Reincarnation: Discussed but ultimately subverted in the story: one look in Tino's eyes and Ancient Scandinavia believes Tino to be the reincarnation of his wife, Astrid. The Founders also mention how much Tino resembles her, and when Tino remembers exploring Astrid's tomb for the first time he recalls how Berwald compared him to the statue of Astrid. But for all the comparisons, no-one turns out to be a reincarnation.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Tino is accepted to St. Hetalia's as a replacement for the previous Finland.
  • Secret Underground Passage: When the student council greets Tino in Chapter 2, they take a secret passage to get from the forest (where he was dropped off) to the lake shore (where the school is located).
  • Shapeshifting: One of China's magical abilities - he can change his appearance as easily as breathing. This has allowed him to continue to attend the school, in one disguise or another, for five hundred years.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Taking You with Me: The ghost of Ancient Scandinavia threatens to kill his host, Sweden, if Tino attempts to exorcise the malevolent spirit.
  • You Killed My Father: Denmark blames Sweden for the drowning death of his little sister Maren when Denmark was thirteen. Denmark used his family's heirloom axe to try and kill Sweden, and while he didn't succeed Sweden did nearly bleed to death and wound up with a massive scar on his chest. Now that they're attending the same school, Denmark does everything in his power to keep anyone else from getting close to Sweden.