Notes/Details: Is it wrong that I love injecting so much angst into the normally happy pair? It's just that, well, the Nazis were kind of terribly, terribly repressed in all the worst ways, and some of that has to bleed through. Lots of bitter-sweet story ahead. Disclaimer appears on my profile, but of course I don't own Germany and Italy, lol. Please review. Title come from the song Deliver Us From Free Will by The Ark.
B Flat Conqueror:
If no one is perfect, then Germany is meant to be no one.
He can trace thin lines across Feliciano's ribs from his position now, pressed in close to the smaller nation, chin to forehead, hands aching to slip under and up Feliciano's shirt to sully themselves on that bronzed skin, and Ludwig knows that Feliciano would let him, longs to let him, in fact, and still he can't.
Even though Feliciano is his closest ally, and his only friend in all of Europe, Ludwig cannot have him, feels the bile rising in his throat at the thought of it.
He is above this, this base instinct, and to lower his mouth to Feliciano's red lips would mean something like change, like failure, perhaps even rebellion, although no one but him would understand this way of thinking. Feliciano frolics shamelessly in every town they pass through, flirting in his childish way, and striking home with young, giggling women.
Ludwig must remain strong by contrast, upright and pure, and carry on the Reich.
Feliciano's arms thrown around his shoulders are a taunt, a test, for him to overcome just as he has overcome the strength of all of Europe's armies.
"How long have we been together, Germany?" Feliciano asks, and Ludwig feels his arms squeeze tighter around his shoulders before loosening so Feliciano can gesture something unknown behind his back.
Ludwig catches that free hand, and squeezes it in turn, a warning in his voice as he admonishes, "Italy."
"Germany," Feliciano chirps, and knits their fingers together, "Years and years, Germany, years!" He swings their joined hands upwards, and stands back, breaking their embrace, to gesture expansively outward with both hands, before stepping neatly back into Ludwig's body. "That many years! Germany, you, you aren't planning to get rid of me, are you?"
His head is a heavy weight on Ludwig's left shoulder, and he wishes Feliciano would pull away again so he could hide the frightened beat of his heart. "Not unless you break our alliance."
Feliciano thumps his head against his shoulder, and laughs against Ludwig's ear. "Don't be silly, Germany! Remember, remember, I love you?"
"What do you think I am, a simpleton?" Ludwig demands, pulling Feliciano's hair sharply and feeling his own breath hitch as Feliciano practically melts into his arms at the would-be painful motion.
"Ger-Germany," Feliciano says through a shaky sigh, continuing, "Germany is smarter than me, definitely."
"Well there's your answer," Ludwig snaps.
He can feel heat radiating from his ears and neck, now, and is thankful for Feliciano's face buried in his shoulder so that he cannot see Ludwig's weakness. It takes all of his willpower not to pull Feliciano closer, to tear the fabric of his shirt from his body, and have him then and there.
His eyes screw shut and he bites his tongue to stave away the pleasure threatening to invade him, slipping down his spine to pool low in his abdomen.
He reminds himself that he is strong, pure, clean as fresh-fallen snow, and that he cannot afford these thoughts in times of war. He pushes away treacherous thoughts of his own leaders' indiscretions: the sodomy, the pills, the soldiers who lie with girls who are less than human, and why should they have their fun when he can't, he can't, and they are all his and he theirs, correct? So why can't he?
He should if they can, and Feliciano's voice slices through his thoughts like incendiaries, "Germany loves me too, doesn't he?"
"Italy," Ludwig snaps, "This is improper."
"Germany gave me this," Feliciano says with a smile, wide and inviting, and Ludwig sees his fingers play over the Iron Cross he wears at his neck.
"Don't," Ludwig almost yells, catching his voice and then cursing himself for it as Feliciano presses himself closer, until he and Ludwig are separated only by cloth. "Nein."
He pushes until Feliciano is a step away from him again, and turns, not thinking beyond his need to get away, to calm his restless nerves and work himself until he can forget the burn of passion and rebellion scalding him, but Feliciano catches his hand and refuses to let go.
"Let go of me, Italy!" Germany shouts, "Now!"
"Germany! Don't be mean!"
"Then let go!"
"Let go, Italy! Don't make me. Just. Don't." Ludwig whips back around and raises his fist, ready and willing to hit Feliciano around the face to force him to comply with his wishes, but something about the way Feliciano tilts his head to either side as if really, truly considering the situation stops him.
Feliciano doesn't put thought into anything, except, perhaps, his cooking.
Ludwig's heart thumps once in warning, and he can just see Feliciano nod slowly and decisively before he's jumping into Ludwig's arms and kissing him thoroughly.
He catches the smaller nation by reflex, and then freezes, stunned, as Feliciano's warm lips part his own expertly, and his pink tongue darts into Ludwig's mouth.
"Italy!" Ludwig yells as he pulls back, ignoring the phantom pleasure of that kiss, of the heat, and slick, and utter perfection and relief of finally having for himself what he's been desiring.
"Germany's always taking so long," Feliciano complains as he straightens his shirt. "We can go slow, Germany, so long as we're going somewhere."
"Don't you understand the trouble I would get in already if he – they, knew you sleep in my bed. This is dangerous, Italy. Dangerous and stupid!"
"How can amore be stupid, Germany?" Feliciano asks, and Ludwig can't help but freeze again when he looks at them, brown eyes so honestly puzzled at Ludwig's explanation, and he doesn't know whether to hate him, or hug his arms around him and never let go.
It's that stupid innocence, he thinks, and can't keep the affection out.
"Understand," he demands.
"You don't make any sense, though!" Feliciano protests, and Ludwig's hands form fists as he continues, "But I still love you, and you still love me."
"I can't love you the way you're proposing," Ludwig explains, again, and feels like he's talking to wall.
"Why not, Germany? Why?"
"It's wrong!" he shouts.
"Why is it wrong?"
"It just is!"
"That doesn't sound like a very good reason," Feliciano says, curling his hand around his chin, and staring, puzzled, into the blue of Ludwig's eyes.
"Italy," Ludwig says, firm and accountable, each word a confession in and of itself, "I don't know what would happen to me if I did this with you."
"You would make me happy," Feliciano replies, and risks a smile that soothes and aggravates in equal measure. "No one's perfect, Germany."
"Then I am no one, Italy."
"Be someone. Tonight, with me," Italy knits their fingers once more as he speaks, pleads, and Ludwig lowers his eyes so that he does not have to see.
"Who will I be tomorrow?"
"You'll be yourself! Nothing can change Germany," Feliciano laughs, high and brilliant as the sun, and Ludwig winces.
"It isn't that easy. I can't just, just turn my back on the ideals that made me, and expect to be the same!"
"You think too much," Feliciano groans.
"That's better than never thinking at all!" Ludwig snaps defensively.
He pulls himself away from Feliciano once again, and kicks violently at the ground at the sound of those two syllables. His mind is clouded and heavy under the weight of his thoughts, and he can't get away from them.
His heart continues to hammer, and his defences feel as though they are being carefully worn away with a file.
"Why do you do this to me?" he demands, suddenly and angrily, "Why do you continue to press when you know you shouldn't? Why do you make me question everything about myself until I cannot even think properly?"
Ludwig turns in demand, staring Feliciano down and watching as his mouth opens and closes in search of an answer to a question he obviously does not understand.
"Germany," Feliciano complains.
"Why can't I ever just say no to you?" Ludwig snaps in turn.
Feliciano pouts, and whines, "Germany says no to me all the time."
"Yes, and you always do things anyway!"
"Do I?" Feliciano asks, and Ludwig is three seconds away from shouting at him in agreement once again when Feliciano kisses him again, just like last time throwing himself into Ludwig's arms, but this time he keeps his toes on the ground, and his soft palm cradles Ludwig's sharp jaw.
"Germany was right! This is much better than arguing!" he says as he pulls away, just enough that Ludwig can stare directly into Feliciano's warm, brown eyes.
Ludwig tries to take advantage of the break to push Feliciano away, but the smaller nation dodges his hands resolutely, and hugs Ludwig tightly before kissing him again, long and sensual, and Ludwig can feel heat building in his stomach. His ears and neck heat red, and Feliciano continues to wind their tongues together.
His fingers clutch almost reflexively at the lapels of Italy's jacket, and he is torn in that moment between shoving him away once and for all, and drawing him closer.
Feliciano's left hand continues to cup Ludwig's chin, and his right works easily to unbutton Ludwig's uniform.
"Germany can stop worrying now," Feliciano says, smiling.
"That's not –"
Feliciano kisses him again, quickly, to silence his words, and then draws first one arm and then the other out of his stiff jacket, letting the heavy fabric fall to the ground, and suddenly Ludwig can breathe again.
He strokes Feliciano's hair gently, his fingers more jerky than he can stand, and hears him moan as he presses his tongue to Ludwig's jugular.
His own intake of breath is sharp and tense as Feliciano first begins to tease his pale skin, thin around the vein and more delicate than he would ever admit. He tightens his hands on Feliciano's clothing, wishing his body would move properly so that he could undress him completely, feel in depth that skin he dreamed of all too often.
He can feel his excitement building, his pulse quickly, and pleasure sliding down his spine straight to his trousers.
It felt better, Feliciano's clever fingers unbuttoning his shirt and pushing it away from his chest even as his tongue slid over Ludwig's collarbone, than seeing Francis accept his fate oh-so bitterly, than passing Roderich in a hallway and watching him avert his eyes and tighten his jaw even as he saluted him sharply.
He knew it shouldn't feel so good, but now that Feliciano has started Ludwig knows nothing will stop him, and all he can do was ride out this wave of passion and togetherness.
Passion of the kind he isn't supposed to enjoy, and is thus all the more enjoyable now that he knows it.
"Let's go to bed, Germany, come on!" Feliciano tugs impatiently at the unbuttoned tail of Ludwig's shirt, and his face colours as he finally notices his state of disarray in this place where anyone could find them.
He picks his jacket up from the floor, and smooths it over his arm, studying the stylized double-s marring the collar. He traces an unsteady finger over the black and silver, and looks up to study Feliciano carefully.
Ludwig feels suddenly very tired, and frightened, and sick, nothing like the strong, powerful nation he knows himself to be, and he struggles to understand why something that makes him feel so free can also cause him so much pain.
"Italy, you know you can't ever say any of this to my boss, you understand that at least, right?" His voice takes on a sharper edge as he finishes, and his stare hardens into almost a glare.
"Why would I be talking to him?" Feliciano asks, sticking his tongue out in distaste.
Ludwig straightens. "If you want this to continue, you will not speak of it to anyone except me."
"Sì, Germany!" Feliciano agrees with a bobbing nod.
"Fine," Ludwig says, relaxing even as bitterness and worry war with pleasure and relief in his stomach. Feliciano distracts him by taking up his hand again, and pressing a kiss to the inside of his wrist as he leads him from the room.
Ludwig tries to find something else to say, some way to voice his concerns that won't cause him to appear weak, but ultimately finds nothing, allowing himself to be led away like a common dog, but even that unpleasant thought does nothing to stop him, and some time later he finds himself giving up, giving in, mercilessly.
He is still himself in the morning, just as Feliciano said.
Ludwig can't help but think of it as a bitter victory, for both himself and his people.
End Notes: Hopefully there was some enjoyment in there. I was a bit nervous about this one, to be honest. So thank you for reading.