Details/Notes: I suppose this is the unofficial, in-name-only sequel to B Flat Conqueror. It takes its title from the same song, Deliver Us From Free Will by The Ark, and it deals with more of Germany's apprehensions re: his relationship with Italy, Nazi ideology, as well as the possibility of him regaining at least glimpses of his memories of the Holy Roman Empire. If you don't like that particular fan-theory this is probably not the story for you. Please see my profile for my disclaimer, as well as my other fic. Reviews of any sort, even a few silly words, are greatly encouraged and appreciated!
My Landslide Companion:
He spends too much time dwelling on the new memories. His tongue carries the permanent taste of flowers and Feliciano's saliva.
He is not supposed to pray now that he has the regime; religion is a dangerous and insidious creature built upon lies, but Ludwig is truly remiss of options when it comes to Feliciano.
Feliciano who is still as troublesome as he was when they first met. Feliciano who will lose him this war if things are allowed to continue as they are now.
Feliciano who after all these years is still impossible to say no to.
Ludwig is more unsure now than he once was of the number of years, exactly, since Feliciano came into his life. His earliest memories have always been jumbled, and his brother has told him on more than one occasion not to worry about it, that things happened as they happened, and that there was no use dwelling on it.
He had assumed that he wasn't very old, as a country. His people were of an old lineage, but Gilbert spoke of their grandfather with reminiscent tones, and secretly Ludwig had been rather proud by how much he has accomplished in his short life.
He isn't sure now, though, as his memories gain solidity.
He mostly remembers fighting, a heavy cloak sticky with blood clinging to his slim shoulders, his hair matted down on one occasion in particular as the hat he wore was torn from his head, and he looked up, up into the face of some shadowed figure, but gazing at Feliciano from a distance he remembers something completely different.
He smells the flowers first, always, their scent heavy and sweet on his tongue. He feels the rough, solid, competent stonework of the house under his fingers.
He doesn't remember whose house it was, and he pauses to try to figure it out.
It was his, perhaps, or perhaps it doesn't matter.
Feliciano comes into focus slowly, his image still fuzzy around the edges, blending into the background like in an ill-preserved photograph, and although the Feliciano of his memories is young enough for breeches to have been inappropriate, it still shocks and bemuses him to see him in that ruffled maid's skirt.
He should be dressed in something colourful, at least, something bright and cheerful, but he thinks that perhaps this memory is not so bright and cheerful as it first appears.
How does the war tie in to Feliciano's smile?
How can it?
Ludwig has learned to savour the taste known as bitter-sweet, and he does so with these memories. He should lock them back up, and turn his attention to the present, but he finds he can't. He lingers over them, and draws them up whenever his mind is free from distraction.
He plays them over and over, searching for clues.
Feliciano has adapted incredibly well to Ludwig's new-found (or re-found) interest in him. He still breaks down crying, still stares up at Ludwig with that frustrating look of incomprehension, making that ridiculous "Ve~" sound he seems to think Ludwig can't hear, but he hugs Ludwig more often now.
He stands on his tiptoes at the end of a long, wearying day and kisses Ludwig's lips.
"I hope, for both our sakes, you keep this secret better than the others!" His voice is raised, but it isn't a threat, and Feliciano knows it, bobbing his head in an extravagant nod, and smiling happily.
"Ve~" He tosses his curl back. "I understand, Germany~!"
He grinds his palms down on Feliciano's shoulders, and stares into his eyes, which are brown like coffee and dirt, a colour that should be undesirable except that Ludwig's stomach flips over and his throat closes up whenever he sees them. He takes a moment, and orders, "Repeat after me: I will not tell anyone about our relationship."
"I will not tell anyone about our relationship, but oh, oh Germany," Feliciano breaks off, "What about big brother France?"
"Definitely not him!"
His grip on Feliciano slides off in anger, and Feliciano slips between his hands like olive oil, dancing out of the way and smiling, smiling like the world is free of all conflict, and all he has to worry about is what type of pasta to cook for dinner. Ludwig clenches his teeth, and tries to make his mouth form words.
"France could be staging a rebellion at any point! Don't you get it? Surely you're not stupid enough to think that he's happy living under my rule!"
His fingers twitch, and his stomach screws up because he knows he's done something wrong again. Like the crosses and the tiny roll of paper hidden behind the wardrobe, and the whispered words in the dead of night: "Deliver me from this madness." He tries so hard and he still cannot live up to the ever-increasing, strictly-enforced laws.
He is making excuses though, and excuses do nothing.
Instead, he throws his arms out in exasperation, kicking at the ground and continuing, "England and his sycophants are building up for an offensive, they aren't even pretending to fear my Luftwaffe, and Russia keeps sending me letters wishing me a nice winter!"
"Isn't that sweet though, Germany?"
"Nein!" Ludwig rounds on Feliciano with an expression of disbelief. "He's hoping that I freeze to death, Veneziano!"
Feliciano seems to study Ludwig from under his bangs, pushing his curl out of his eyes after a moment, and frowning in contemplation. "He isn't sweet, then? But Germany was such good friends with Russia!"
Ludwig just laughs.
He can't help it, because while he and Ivan may have had something of an understanding, it had always been a brittle, false thing. Ivan was utterly insane, and as Ludwig became more self-aware as time wore on, he realised more and more that he probably was as well.
It explained, at least, Feliciano's continued presence at his side.
If he was truly sane he would have gotten rid of him the first time he failed to do anything like fight a battle properly, and remembering once again the flowers, and the stone, and the blush of Feliciano's skin he can't help the traitorous, happy part of his mind rejoicing in his lack of sanity.
Feliciano reaches out to hug him.
Ludwig sighs, and welcomes him into his arms.
Feliciano tells Ludwig, like Gilbert, not to worry and that things will work themselves out, but that isn't what Ludwig worries about. He worries about the manner in which things will work themselves out. He doesn't think it won't happen.
"No one can ever know about this," Ludwig breathes into Feliciano's hair.
"I don't see why."
Feliciano snuggles closer into his chest, fitting like a missing puzzle piece.
He continues after getting comfortable, "It isn't as if we're doing anything wrong, Germany."
"Don't, Veneziano," Ludwig warns.
"Ve~ Germany is so uptight about these things, but we aren't like normal people, are we, Germany?" Feliciano rises to his toes, and captures Ludwig's lips.
His kisses are always warm and sweet, even in the instances where Ludwig presses firm enough to bruise. Feliciano's mouth is supple and relaxed, coaxing and pliant, establishing a rhythm and in the same breath taking it away. It's as if he is playing some complicated game Ludwig doesn't know the rules for.
He ends up so invested in figuring out the kiss that it takes him whole minutes to respond to Feliciano's words. It always happens this way. His voice is strong, but now he cannot bring himself to raise it.
Feliciano wears him down slowly and careful, but surely.
"No, we aren't normal, Veneziano, but that only means that we must hold ourselves to higher standards than the general populace."
"Ve~!" It's a sigh, Ludwig thinks. "That's no fun!"
"Being a responsible nation often isn't, but don't sell short its benefits!" Ludwig straightens, and Feliciano whines a bit in frustration. He has to strain to reach Ludwig even normally, and when Ludwig stands at his full height he can only just peak over his shoulder.
His stomach turns over again, in that strange, not-unpleasant way he has come to associate with Feliciano. He finds it strange how he feels better with Feliciano hanging on him, and after some internal debate his shoulders drop again.
Feliciano clings with a smile.
"You should kiss me now, Germany!"
"What?" Ludwig blushes. "This location is hardly private!"
"That's what makes it romantic!"
Feliciano's head begins to bob again in a nod, up and down and up until watching him makes Ludwig dizzy. He leans in, and closes his eyes to make it stop, and then he and Feliciano are bumping noses, and then kissing once again.
He knows Feliciano's uniform nearly as well as his own, and the collar isn't as strange as it seems at first glance. He likes the heat of Feliciano's throat, the way it makes his gut twist up in unnatural, deceitful pleasure.
Feliciano thrusts against him reflexively when Ludwig strokes over his collarbone with gloved fingers. He always forgets he's wearing them until it's too late to do anything about it. He won't do more than blush, though, unless Feliciano mentions he doesn't like it.
Ludwig doesn't have much experience, going hand in hand with his false ideas of being young.
Feliciano is always claiming to be a virgin, even now when Ludwig has first-hand proof that he most certainly is not. He can't help but wonder, though, if Feliciano has done this with someone else.
He really can't guess at the emotions that thought inspires.
Jealously, but that was easy.
Anger, again, easy.
Betrayal is different. Betrayal is an emotion that requires a history.
He has a history with Feliciano, but it is short, microscopic in the years of nations, or so he thinks. Thought.
This confusion is grating at him like nothing else.
Feliciano's lips tease him, tricking him into thinking the two of them are battling with tongues, but then he cuts Ludwig off with a soft little nip, and smacks their lips together firmly.
He feels drugged when they pull apart.
Perhaps he is.
Perhaps his doctor is switching the pills around again. He likes to do that. Ludwig has always been able to catch him before, but he is rather busy, and it would explain these past weeks and months so nicely.
His thoughts grow distant.
Feliciano gestures back and forth, across his eyes. Ludwig follows after a moment, startled.
"Take siesta with me!"
"Siestas are for sleeping," Ludwig protests as he tears himself away from some of his bleaker thoughts.
Ludwig studies him for a moment before nodding sharply, once up and down. He extracts himself from Feliciano's arms, and stretches his own as best he can while wearing his stiff jacket. "If you're just going to nap, I have things I should be attending to."
He tugs a little at his gloves, and turns away resolutely.
He is just picking up his hat, and preparing to set off for his office when Feliciano shouts at him, "Germany! You're not supposed to leave without saying anything!"
"What should I say?"
Feliciano twists his curl around and around one pointed, tanned finger, thinking for a moment before he hops a little in the air and demands, "Say that you love me!"
Ludwig blushes to the roots of his hair.
"Germany, please~? Ve, you're not even sleeping with me~!"
"Tonight!" Ludwig gets out, sounding strangled, "I'm sleeping with you tonight!"
Feliciano giggles. "Tonight is a long way."
"Fine! Fine," Ludwig acknowledges, putting aside whether or not he is lying, and summoning up the courage to state matter-of-factly, "I love you, Veneziano."
"I love you too, Germany~!" Feliciano waves as he shouts this, skipping and running down the road in the direction of Ludwig's house rather than his own. Ludwig doesn't know how to feel about that, some strange mixture of happy, nervous, petrified, and aggravated.
He puts on his hat, sweeping his fingers across the short brim, and saluting, half from habit, and half to wash the taste of Feliciano's saliva from his mouth.
He has work to do.
If any minutes can be spared, his new memories are still fresh on his mind. Perhaps he should even call Roderich away from whatever meaningless labour Gilbert has him doing to explain what he knows.
Ludwig remembers music.
End Notes: It is now four in the morning, and I'm finally finished editing. I have far too few regrets about staying up to get this finished! Hopefully all of you reading have enjoyed, please let me know via review, even just one word makes me smile, and I try my hardest to respond to all of them provided you leave me a way to! Thank you for reading and good night.