Disclaimer: I do not own the characters nor the countries (although I wish!). This story is not for commercial purpose. Please don't sue.

11.

Gilbert shuddered as he heard the first angry cry from the crowd; just like the first drop of rain, in the blink of an eye it would soon turn into a whipping storm.

Having decided he could not just sit in his room and pretend not to notice what was going on outside, he left his desk and went downstairs as fast as he was able. When he opened the door he saw Ivan was about to knock.

"Come with me," without usual greetings the Russian gave an order rather hastily. Knowing better than to argue, Gilbert complied without a word, and soon found himself sitting beside Ivan in his bulky black car. Pretending to look out at the passing street view, Gilbert slyly studied Ivan from the reflection of the window. He looked tense, and much excited comparing to his normal careless attitude. His left hand was assumingly playing a short Cossack song on his left knee, while his right hand hid in his pocket all the time. By the size of the pocket, Gilbert was sure the thing held in his hand could probably inflict great pain to someone's body.

And he had no intention to be this someone.

Gilbert squeezed himself tightly into the corner of the back seat, leaving at least five inch space in between. Fortunately, Ivan did not pay attention to this unwelcoming posture, or if he had noticed, he did not bother to point it out and give him another lesson on camaraderie. He seemed as if he had completely forgotten he was accompanied by another country. By the look in his icy eyes, Gilbert gave up inquiring about their destination.

At least, it was not a difficult guess.

Noises on the streets became louder as they drove toward the center of the city. More and more people were now coming to the streets like streams run into sea. All cars had to slow down, and some horned to show respect and support. People were walking or running, some holding up slogans they had made over night. Everyone was moving to the same direction, Under den Linden, the famous street that connects Brandenburg Gate to the former City Palace, now just the ruins where the People's Palace would be built on.

Ivan smiled.

Suddenly, Gilbert felt as if his chest was clutched by a steel hand. Rolling down the window, he shouted to the crowd: "Go back! Return to your homes! Clear the street, now!"

Some looked at him and grinned, others ignored him and kept on walking.

"Listen! Please, listen!" Gilbert shouted again, this time more anxious, "You won't accomplish anything here! Leave your government to solve the problem. Let your country help you!"

A man scorned.

"This is not 'our' government. This puppet will only do what his big brother Russia tells him to do. We've had enough! I need to feed my family and I need a higher pay!"

"And this country, bah," another man followed, "is not any better! We work like dogs but what we get? I could find more stuff in the grocery store before the war! This country is not protecting us. It takes away more things than it gives."

"Better to live in the other Germany," a voice in the crowd chipped in, and quite many agreed.

Gilbert was dumbfounded. He wasn't unaware of the resentment in his people, but not like this, not when others confronted him in such an upfront manner. It felt like a punch right in the stomach. He felt sick.

Ivan watched with no mercy in his cold eyes. Seeing Gilbert devastated, he laughed lightly.

"That's people," he said, "never satisfied, always ask for more. There's only one solution to this, which has proved to be very effective in other occasions. Now, here we are."

The car pulled to a stop. Streams of people marched hand in hand, singing and chanting, with hope and valour shining in their eyes. A couple students set up a record player on the side, playing songs to encourage and inspire others.

And it would all be destroyed.

Gilbert stood on the sidewalk and watched in silence. With each minute passed his hands became colder. He could feel the trembling of the ground as tanks closing in. Trucks with loads of Red Army soldiers were coming this way. The smell of gunpowder was already in the air.

So familiar.

He would not allow himself to think back and dig the roots of this familiarity, yet he could not stop shivering. He was drowning, again, in the lake of icy water. With no help, nor hope.

"Please," he clenched his teeth, "Let me handle this. They will go home in peace. I promise."

"With what?" Ivan stared into his eyes, "We've seen how your persuasion worked back there."

"I'll try harder. They'll listen."

Ivan sniggered. "They won't. They don't love you. You see, a country not loved by his own people always has to resort to a more radical approach to get them timid. You are either loved or feared. This is how we do things."

With that he drew out his right hand, pointed the pistol to the sky and pulled the trigger. The marching people paused at the sound for a minute, and as they looked around, soldiers appeared.

The bloody mayhem began.

People screamed as tanks rode down many of the unarmed demonstrators. After the tanks the army and police force marched in, taking down civilians with guns and truncheons. People crying and running off to different directions, some of them fell and never got up.

Gilbert could not stand it any longer. He turned to Ivan.

"Stop, please," he begged, "Make it stop! This city has already seen too much blood."

"Why do you care? I've got the killing licence practically handed to me in a silver plate from your boss. If he doesn't mind, why should you?"

"They are my people, damn it!"

"You're such a fool, my dear Comrade. It is pointless to love when there's no love in return. You're caring for those who do not deserve. Have you ever counted the number of those traitors who in the past few years ran to that Fascist Germany? Did you forget what they said when we came here? You are the better Germany because I rebuilt you. I redesigned you with the perfect ideology. If these laymen can't show appreciation, let them be gone." Ivan chuckled, quite happily, "Indeed, we don't need those who can't play along."

"No!" Cries, screams, and weeps were tearing him apart. There must be something he could do to help. What kind of country would he be if he should allow such massacre to happen on his land? "No. They can hate me all they want. Despise me, run away from me. It's all their choice. But it's not in my power to do the same to them. Without people there is no country. They are the only reason why I still exist. "

"Wrong. I am the only reason of your existence," Ivan corrected patiently, as if teaching a toddler to walk, "I'm the maker of you. My wish is your command. You live for me, and me alone. You should think of me and only me, for I am able to not only make you but also unmake you. You would try you best to make me happy, just like your boss does. And yet, I am very disappointed."

He moved closer, pistol in hand, with his finger still resting on the trigger. Gilbert thought of stepping back, yet he could not move. The smell of gunpowder from this country unnerved him. A silhouette flashed through his mind, and he felt pain, pain from wounds that were not there.

Pain is not your enemy.

A voice whispered and dissipated in wind. Gilbert stared at the gun, still as stone.

"I thought of granting you freedom before this happens," said Ivan, "I asked for this favour, although others still had doubts. I trusted you. You were the good one, as I assured them, not the Fascist pig in the west. You were the good, reliable, comrade." He smiled, bitterly, "It seems I have overestimated your boss's crisis management ability, as well as your loyalty."

"My loyalty is-"

"Faked, of course. This is one of your little dirty tricks, isn't it? As a country you know what happens on this land; no one could hide anything from you. You knew the dissidents had schemes. You knew who the leaders were. Yet you chose not to report. Are you hoping to see the uprising overthrow this government we set up for you, whom you only pretend to side with?"

Gilbert went silent for a moment before he gathered up to speak.

"What else do you expect me to say if you have already condemned me? Look around," the street was getting quieter as people by now were either dragged to the trucks and taken away or lying on the ground soundlessly. Only a few lucky ones managed to escape the devastation. "I am damned for what has just happened. My people will always remember that on this day, their country stood aside and let it happen. If you wish to unmake me, do it now as no one will be dismayed when it's done. You would do the world a favour."

Ivan squinted as he studied Gilbert carefully. Out of blue, it seemed as if he had found new interesting ideas. Licking his lips, he nodded.

"That's the spirit," he said in a light-hearted tone, "Just as I thought you were becoming dull and boring like all the other mindless drones in our bloc. Defiant, yes, but very subtle. You're testing my patience. And you're clever enough to choose the right moment to do it to avoid punishment." He drew even closer, the hand holding the pistol touching the other's cheek gently, fingers running through his white hair. "I haven't got a new boss since March. Your petit treason will probably go unnoticed while the watch dogs in Moscow are biting each other to be on top. I'll let this one slip, as the reward for your cleverness."

A sudden heavy blow to the ear made Gilbert let out a short cry in excruciating pain. He fell to the ground, feeling as if a bomb was exploding in his head.

"And this is for you to remember, Russia does not have patience for tricks."Ivan smiled sweetly, obviously taking pleasure in watching him in pain, "Bear in mind, you're too weak to succeed, and I intend to keep you so."

Far away, someone accidentally knocked over the record player. The tonearm was switched and another song was played. Among the painful groans, desperate shrieks, sporadic gunshots, and military shouts in Russian and German, a woman's voice was singing the national anthem of this new born country, a sorrowful melody with the saddened wish of returning to the fatherland, and a hope that was buried under the ruins, waiting to be remembered one day.


Note: "Fascist Germany" was how West Germany was referred to sometimes in the Soviet bloc (especially in Russia and occasionally in East Germany as well). For some reason they believed that DDR was cleansed of Fascism (might be because it was "reborn" into a communist country?). It was also how the young East Germans were taught in school. Would be interesting if one could compare the history textbooks used in DDR and BRD. ;P