Earlier this month one of my favorite series, Hetalia, started a new run as it’s re-vamped self with entirely new art and a new appreciation for some of the characters that had been previously glossed over in its first five seasons (Turkey and Seychelles have already made an appearance!!). It is with this knowledge, and the fact that it’s still Femslash February, that I set off to find an amazing fic starring the overlooked ladies of Hetalia. Unfortunately, it seems that even in the world of fanfiction the ladies of Hetalia are still horrendously overlooked, authors instead favoring genderswapped versions of the male characters. In my opinion that really doesn’t count as femslash, especially when one ignores the females already present in canon. But hey, I’m not one to give up too easily. But after looking through the library of available pairings on AO3 and Fanfiction.net, I only found about three stories that I would personally consider reading again. (I also developed a strong loathing for people who tag their stories as F/F parings, but only list M/M or Het pairings in their tags. Why you gotta do that shit?)
One of the pairings that I didn’t even think about before this journey but have actually started to ship is Belarus x Liechtenstein. Although it’s essentially an out-of-nowhere pairing (I’m pretty sure they don’t interact in canon), the dynamics between them have the potential to be very compelling: Belarus in her yandere standoffishness and Liechtenstein being super sweet and quiet. I have a soft spot for couples that are different like that. Both of the stories I have for you readers today feature this paring.
Yes, “both”. As in two. I felt like picking two based not only on the fact that they’re one-shots, but also because they’re so close to being really good. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still good, but they’re missing a little something, that final push into “wow this is really fantastic”. Mostly, because I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to do more.
First off, we have Lost, by author Tall on the Inside. In this fic, Natalia’s (Belarus’s human name) brother, Ivan (aka: Russia), has unfortunately lost his life as the victim of a car accident and she is not taking the loss very well. She takes it even less well at the arrival of Lili (Liechtenstein) because, as she soon finds out, it was Lili’s brother who caused the accident. Yet, despite her hatred, Natalia finds herself in the uncomfortable position of taking care of the younger girl when it comes out that she’s basically been disowned by the rest of her family. From there, they both get the affection that they’ve been seeking for what seems like forever and eventually fall in love.
The highest praise I can give this fic is that, against all odds, the drama doesn’t become melodramatic. In fact, much of it seems understated, which fits very well with the characters. Both Natalia and Lili are kept so well in character and the action flows at such a nice pace that I found it difficult to fault the story too much for some of the events that were just too plot convenient (such as Lili moving in with Natalia).
It explores the two girls coping with a loss and eventually, not overcoming it, but learning to live with it and move past it. For a one-shot, it was rather ambitious and given the length I believe it did very well.
Today’s other fic, I Could Have Danced All Night by Salmon, takes a much fluffier approach at the relationship. There is a nondescript ball in Somewhereland, and Natalia is trying her hardest to get Lili to get out of her room and go like she promised she would. Natalia’s methods of hacking down the door with an axe get her a response rather quickly as one could guess. However, it turns out that Lili is embarrassed about going because she doesn’t know how to dance. Aid is quickly offered, and they both end up going to the ball with Lili asking Natalia for a dance at the very end.
Okay, so this one-shot may not have as much depth as the last one, but I love stories like this. It was cute and simple—seriously, the “not knowing how to dance” thing was the biggest conflict in the whole story—but I think that works to its credit. From the lack of information, I think it’s safe to insert this somewhere on the actual canon timeline (not that there’s a plot to create a timeline off of), thus giving the story a lot more leeway with being more silly and out there with its characters. Yes, again in this story, everyone is delightfully in character; yes, chopping down a door with an axe is something Belarus actually would do. Their romance could be easily magnified into some smoochfest of burning, forbidden love, but Salmon keeps it quite sweet, simple, and understated. A word I would relate most to this fic would be ‘refreshing’.
Although I didn’t exactly find a magnum-opus of amazing femslash—and looking back on it, Hetalia probably wasn’t the best fandom to go searching in—these two one-shots were a nice surprise after sifting through some other less than savory writings. I really hope that with this new season of Hetalia the female characters will get more screentime than previously and it will spur authors to look a little closer at some of their relationships. There are some amazing female characters (Hello? Belgium?) and they really do need—and deserve—more representation in fanworks than they’re getting.