-Author's Notes-

Please keep in mind this is not meant to be an accurate representation of actual historical events, nor should it be construed as having any kind of social or political agenda. This is merely a work of fiction, written to entertain the author and maybe a few others unlucky enough to stumble upon it.

I know, I know! It's been done! But… but I couldn't help it!

Warnings – Gilbert-esq language (that means it's bad, kids). Angst up the wazoo. Creepy, creepy Russia. 50s era views on Communism. Eventual slash.

Disclaimer- You know the drill.


Divided We Stand

Chapter One.

- Separation Anxiety.

Gilbert's chair creaked loudly as the exhausted man leaned back and rested his crossed ankles on the sturdy oak table, muddy boots and all. He laced his hands behind his head in an attempt to impose some semblance of forced relaxation upon his weary body. Across the table Ludwig sat motionless with his eyes fixed on the wooden surface, a steady twitching of his eyebrow the only indication that he was even awake.

Gilbert's chair creaked.

"I fuckin' hate tables."

It was the first thing either of them had said in hours. Ludwig looked up blearily, his eyebrow still twitching in time with the squeaking of the older man's chair. "Please tell me our situation hasn't vested you of that last shred of sanity you used to cling to," he pleaded in a haggard voice.

"I'm serious. It's a table's fault we're even in this goddamn mess."

Ludwig gave a long-suffering sigh, resisting the urge to bang his head against the aforementioned table until he was granted the sweet bliss of unconsciousness. Brain damage be damned. "You can't just go around randomly placing the blame for humanity's cruel and insane actions on whatever inanimate object happens to strike your fancy."

Gilbert leaned even further back in his chair, ignoring the protesting squeals of the flimsy wood, narrowing his eyes. "First off, not random. That time, with the eggplant? Don't give me that look, I know you remember. Again, totally the eggplant's fault. Secondly, if it hadn't been for that one damned table, your lunatic of an ex-boss would've been roasted to perfection long ago in a clean, well thought out explosion. But no. No, he was saved by your fuckin' perfectionist engineering." Gilbert sighed heavily, crossing his arms over his chest. "Why'd you have to build everythin' so goddamn sturdy?"

"Excuse me for taking pride in my house's traditional crafts," snapped Ludwig, his voice crackling with irritation.

"Hey man, just sayin'. I know compensation when I see it. And for you, compensation is a big, sturdy, oak table," Gilbert said, punctuating each word with a tap of one grimy boot against the table's surface.

Ludwig opened his mouth to deliver what would have undoubtedly been a scathing retort, when the door behind him was suddenly pushed open from the outside. Both men grew silent, all traces of banter, friendly or otherwise, evaporating in an instant as the tall figures of America and Russia strode into the room. The two former Allies were surreptitiously eyeing each other, standing a carefully measured distance apart.

"Alright then," America said in his abrasive voice. He barely gave the two seated men a glance before pulling out his own chair at the head of the table and falling into it with a heavy sigh. "Let's just get this over with quickly." He turned to address Russia, who had seated himself at the opposite end of the table. "England keeps naggin' me about helpin' him fix his house."

A few chairs down, Ludwig shifted uneasily in his seat, adverting his eyes to stare once again at the surface of the table.

"Agreed," Russia said calmly, cinching his scarf tighter around his neck.

America finally looked up at the two Germanic nations, his blue eyes scrutinizing both of them. "So you both have to know why we're here," he said, popping his gum with a loud snap, absently fiddling with the top button of his jacket. "We need to make sure somethin' like this won't happen again."

Gilbert nodded. "Got it," he said, letting his chair fall to rest on all fours with a loud thump. "So sorry. Promise we'll make sure next time that our boss isn't a total whack job before startin' another war. Now if you'll just excuse us-" He rose to leave.

"I'm afraid our little half-nation here hasn't quite grasped the severity of the situation," Russia said in his sunny voice. "Please, sit down."

Gilbert's eyes narrowed dangerously, hands clenching into fists at his side. "Who're you callin' a half nation you albino motherfu-"

"Sit down, Gilbert." Ludwig's soft, commanding baritone cut through the older man's angry tirade. "Please."

Gilbert glared at the younger man for an instant with a look of betrayed shock, before lowing himself resentfully back into his chair, his eyes dark with barely suppressed rage.

America gave a slight cough, "Now that uh… mini-Germany over here has calmed down, let's get to business." He leaned forward to glance down the long table to where Russia sat watching the proceedings with a serene expression plastered on his face. "How do you wanna handle this?" America asked, pointedly ignoring the other two nations seated at the table.

Russia just smiled, "Well, my dear ally, I suppose it's only right that you go first."

America snorted, "Thanks for that, comrade. Still," he glanced down both sides of the table at the two Germanic nations with scrutinizing eyes. Ludwig was still staring at the surface of the table, his normally ramrod straight posture crumbled slightly, shoulders hunched over in weariness. Gilbert had once again propped his feet up on the ancient oak, staring defiantly across the monstrosity, his red eyes fixed stubbornly on anything other than Ludwig.

"Still," America continued, "If I'da known they were already like this, we could've just settled this over the phone. Guess we'll just go with what our bosses already proposed. I'll get together later with the other two and hash out the rest of the details." The blonde stood, pushing his chair in behind him and walked over to where the other former Allied nation was seated.

Russia stood as well, holding out one pale hand to the American. "Then we're in agreement."

America nodded, grabbing the offered hand in a brief shake before letting go with a quick wrench of his arm. The tall blonde walked towards the door, shrugging into his jacket. He paused behind Ludwig's chair to rap the other man on the shoulder with a gentle fist. "Come on," he said. "We're leavin'."

Ludwig stood wordlessly, turning around to follow the American without a backwards glance.

Across the room, Gilbert rose to his feet in an abrupt flurry of movement, gripping the table with white-knuckled hands. "You're splitting us? Why?!" he demanded, his voice almost cracking with the strain of his anger.

America looked over his shoulder at the silver-haired man, his mouth drawn in a taunt line. "You're dangerous together," he said simply. "Even with your ex-boss dead and rottin' away under twenty feet of debris." The American turned, gesturing for Ludwig to follow him. "C'mon, West. Let's let the comrades talk about their new livin' arrangements in peace."

Ludwig made no outward sign that he'd even heard the other man, save for a tight nod of his head. His ice-blue eyes were shadowed and expressionless, his back ramrod straight. He turned to follow the American through the heavy iron studded doors.

"You're not allowed to call him that."

Gilbert's soft, dangerous voice echoed hollowly in the barren room.

America paused in the doorway, twisting around to look at the other man in puzzlement. "Sorry?"

"You're. Not allowed. To call. Him that," Gilbert calmly repeated his words as though speaking to a small child, his taunt thin frame the only outward sign of the violence that crouched poised beneath his skin.

America eyed Gilbert warily for a moment. Russia stood in the background, a bemused smile on his face, watching the proceedings in taciturn silence.

An instant later America relaxed again, shrugging one shoulder in a casual gesture, "Sure. Whatever." He turned to look at Ludwig, holding open the heavy door for the other nation. "So what should I call you then?"

"Call me whatever you wish." Ludwig strode through the open door with heavy, sure steps, eyes fixed stonily ahead.

Amercia laughed, following the tall man through the doorway. "Kind of a stick in the mud, aren't ya?" he said, his voice quickly fading with every retreating step.

The door closed shut behind the two with a quiet air of finality.

Gilbert remained standing, eyes still locked on the door, his fingers gripping the edge of the table tight enough to splinter. Russia moved from behind the shorter man to rest one, chilled hand on his shoulder. "Shall we go as well?" the older man asked, a smile lingering in his lilting voice.

Gilbert shrugged off the other man's hand with a graceful, fluid motion. "Fuck you," he spat out, backpedaling quickly towards the door.

Russia let his hand fall to his side and laughed lightly, "Are you sure you should be using such severe language? You belong to me now, after all. Perhaps a bit of respect is due."

Gilbert's lip curled in a bitterly amused sneer, "We'll see about that."

The older man merely chuckled before moving to stroll past Gilbert, heading through the doorway. He paused halfway through, "Ah, I just remembered something, East." Russia turned again to stand in front of the other man, towering over him. He reached out with one long finger to slowly trace the lines of Gilbert's thin neck.

The younger man snarled, wrenching himself away from the older man's touch. "The fuck do you think you're doin'?!"

Russia raised one pale eyebrow, "Merely reminding you that you must leave that behind."

"I don't speak creepy asshole. Care to translate?"

The taller man's violet eyes flashed black for a moment, before he moved his hand to rest against his own throat. "This."

Gilbert's hand moved instinctively to rest on the worn iron cross around his neck, his eyes fluttering delicately shut. His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed heavily, fingers clutching desperately to the jagged piece of metal. He remained silent.

Russia stared at the younger man for a moment before shrugging in puzzlement, turning to walk out the door. "I shall wait out here. Please do your best to not linger."

Gilbert's eyes slid open to follow the Russian's retreating form. He stood still for a moment, before suddenly wrenching the cross from his uniform, tearing the fabric beneath. He slammed the thing into the oak table, hard enough to splinter the wood, etching a white scar deep into the surface. Hard enough to rend into the palm of his hand, tearing an ugly red wound into his pale flesh, smearing a bloody palm-print on the pristine oak. Gilbert shakily raised his hand and turned it over to look at the marred flesh, watching with detached interest as the ruby-red blood pooled in the center of his palm.

"Fuck," he breathed heavily, tracing the edges of the wound with a shaky thumb. "That hurt."


End Notes:

Poor Gil. And it's only going to get worse from here on out… *shakes head sadly*