Character(s)/Pairing(s): Germany, Prussia, Arthur, Alfred, Ivan
Summary: Prussia disappeared with his nation – and woke up in limbo.
A/N: Broken said I should write this, so I did. Argh, I should've completed her request fic first, but this wouldn't leave me alooone~ *Swats irritably at plot bunnies* =__=
Well, well, well…we pondered over this…and yeah. Mm, hope you enjoy this .
"The spring's surroundings start to talk quietly,
'It's not that your sins aren't tolerated.'
'However,' the water spoke and evil spoke,
'We will try to change those facts.'
The red handcuffs fall off and I start to talk,
'After this, you will be born again.'
The blue shackles fall off and I talk to you,
'Today is your new birthday.'
Everything around us is dyed white,
'Very soon we will meet again.'"
--- Re_Birthday, Kagamine Len
"You know Prussia was dissolved two weeks ago, and Russia says that soon after…Well, he's gone."
There was no need to elaborate on who 'he' was, and by the way Ludwig had stilled behind his desk, fingers crumpling the edge of the document, the larger nation knew already. Arthur felt a little awkward at the silence that followed, looking around the small office that Ludwig had claimed soon after the chaotic aftermath of the Second World War with a slight, uncomfortable frown.
The clock struck two.
"Gone." Ludwig repeated, finally lowering the document and looking up at the ex-Empire Nation. There was edginess in his eyes, a tightening around his pursed mouth, and Arthur rolled his shoulders and met the gaze head on.
"Yeah. Just…gone." Arthur fluttered his hands in a meaningless gesture. "Can't really trust that Russian bastard on it, but it seems like he really disappeared after his dissolution was signed two weeks ago." The Englishman looked over at the clock, intently watching the longest hand tick away rapidly. "…He disappeared like Ancient Rome."
The silence after that statement stretched painfully, and neither man spoke until a knock on the door snapped it like an elastic band.
Arthur seemed to jolt from the sudden noise and quickly cleared his throat, and Ludwig immediately directed his eyes to the sprawl of papers on his desk, jostling them about with bizarre expression. Arthur wondered why they were both acting as if they were caught doing something naughty.
"Come in." Ludwig called out, his voice tightly coiled into a controlled tone.
The door swung open partially, and a recognisable blond stuck his head in comically, glasses sliding down his nose and blue eyes snapping to Arthur as quickly. "Did you…?" Alfred near whispered to the Englishman before cutting himself off at the warning look he got. He grinned wanly and pushed open the door the rest of the way, walking fully into the office with a lack of his usual exuberance. "Hey, Germany! Busy week?"
Ludwig didn't stop messing with the papers, organising them into pointless piles and dotting them around the desk. "Yes, very busy week. There were – are – still this…" He faltered briefly, a sheaf of paper slipping out of his newest pile and fluttering to the floor. He didn't seem to notice.
Arthur and Alfred watched the paper's descent to the floor and the American, obviously not liking the tense air, abruptly clapped his hands together. "Well, you can finish that later, right? You've been stuck in here for a while; need to go out for some food? You're hungry, huh?"
A deep breath and Ludwig lowered his pile, his fingers lingering on the surface of the paper as he looked – for the briefest of moments – lost and confused. But then the usual stern expression snapped back into place and he picked up the pile again.
"No. I'm not hungry."
Alfred spoke up a little weakly about how Ludwig needed a good hamburger in him, but the German seemed to block them out completely, obsessively shuffling his papers around with single-minded focus. The two men loitered about without speaking again for a few more minutes, exchanging looks with each other and scuffing their feet, but seeing that the silent Nation was not going to acknowledge their presence anymore, Arthur quietly murmured a quick farewell and left, dragging an awkward Alfred after him.
Ludwig scrunched up the documents in his hand in a sudden violent movement when the door closed with a soft 'click', his nostrils flaring and his eyes dark. He remained like that for a while, fingers flexing around the crumpled document in spastic twitches of unrestrained emotion.
Gilbert Beilschmidt, Nation of Prussia, was gone.
Gilbert's voice echoed back to him, bouncing back from invisible walls in his dark cage and making the Prussian flinch at the loudness of the emptiness. He swivelled his head round, scarlet eyes squinted against the unrelenting darkness, and shouted again.
"Oi! Where's the fucking lightswitch!? Anyone!? Hellooo~?"
More echoes. Gilbert scowled and stomped his foot, blinking at the high pitched jingle of metal. He looked down, but his sight was slightly impeded by the darkness so the ex-Nation grumbled and spat curses, crouching down to feel along his ankle.
Cool metal burned under his fingers, and Gilbert snarled and tugged at the thin chain. It failed to give and Gilbert groped for his other ankle, cursing a second time at feeling another metal band there.
"The fuck? Is this that Russian cuntsucker's newest game or something?" Gilbert scoffed scornfully, running calloused fingers through his hair and grimacing at the knots that met them. Another jingle, loud and close to his ear, and the ex-Nation snatched out. Ice cold metal.
Wrists and ankles bound, dark room, alone…Gilbert half expected Ivan to morph out of the darkness dressed in a bondage outfit, fingering his much loved faucet with a dangerous purr of "comrade…"
Ew, ew, ew. Gilbert just gave himself a nightmare.
"Hey! Russian fucker!" Gilbert barked, stomping his feet and jangling his chains, making a loud racket. "If you're lurking 'bout here you should really turn the lights on! I wanna know when to duck under your gigantic nose whenever you turn!"
Gilbert stopped his flailing, the chains' jingling echoing pathetically back at him. "Huh. Guess he's not here then. Well, good! Haha!" He laughed boisterously into the darkness. "I'd rather be alone and tied up then tied up with that creepy bastard lurking about!"
Only his echoing voice answered him.
"Two bottles of beer on the wall, two bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around…one more bottle of beer on the wall…"
Gilbert's hoarse voice trailed off uncertainly, the silence swallowing him up, before he picked it up again, his hands waving vaguely in a parody of a dance.
"One fucking bottle of beer on the wall, one bottle of beer…" Gilbert faltered again, his throat feeling sore, but the silence pressed down on him so he quickly jangled his chains to give him a brief break and forced out the next line. "Take one down, pass it around, no more fucking shitty bottles of beer on the fucking wall!"
He had no clue how many times he sang that song, but it was really making him want a beer – especially since his throat felt like sandpaper and with each verse his voice kept getting raspier and quieter. He scowled irritably at his circumstances again, slapping the ground with a hand.
Where was that Russia? Was he just going to let him be driven to insanity through boredom? Or was this a plot of Russia's to bend and break him through loneliness and gain more control over his vital regions? Hah!
"I don't care about being alone." Gilbert muttered into his knees. "But fuck, I'm bored."
Again, only that fucking silence and its echoes answered him, the faintest scuff of footsteps-
Gilbert jolted upright, nearly tripping over his chains in an attempt to lunge to his feet. His heart was hammering and all senses alert as he listened…yes! Footsteps! He wasn't alone! Ah! He meant, about time idiot Russia checked up on him! It felt like days!
"Oi! Moron!" Gilbert laughed, his voice shriller than it should be. "Where've you been? You know, if you ever had to look after a pet, you'd be a shitty carer!"
He received no answer, and the footsteps seemed to fade away into nothingness. Gilbert shrieked in anger.
"Hey! Hey! Don't walk away from me you fucking bastard! Where're you going! Fucker! Drecksau! Zurückgekommen!" Gilbert surged forwards, "Zurückgekommen!" But the chains around his ankles pulled and he hit the ground hard, scraping the palms of his hands against the invisible ground. "Ow! Fuck! You-!"
He choked suddenly, gasping as he voiced nothing but silence. Scrabbling onto his knees he clutched at his throat in alarm, his scarlet eyes wide as he tried to force words past chapped lips.
If Gilbert didn't know any better, he'd say that he was loosing colour.
But, after days, months or years of being trapped in this godforsaken black hellhole, Gilbert decided that he was going insane, slowly but surely – or had already reached the insanity mark but was sane enough to know that he was going insane. Or something to that effect. So, possibly, he could be loosing colour, or his mind was completely screwy and this was just part of his imagination.
He missed his voice, but after trying to scream abuse at whoever came to mind and only able to achieve a pathetic sounding wheeze, Gilbert decided not to pine over it. He just needed a drink – just a sore throat. So until Russia bastard stops trying to drive him mad – if it even was Russia doing this – or starve him to death, Gilbert will just beat a tattoo against the floor, try to catch the owner of those footsteps and pick at his clothes.
Like now, he was running gloved fingers over his should be navy blue sleeve, wondering if it was lighter than last time he looked. His surroundings were still dark, but he could tell…his clothes weren't blending against the blackness of his cage so maybe they were lighter or his eyes were getting used to the lack of light.
Footsteps again jerked him out his scrutiny of his clothes, and his eyes scanned the darkness with a near desperate glare but then – two? – Yes, two sets of footsteps, then more, and more, walking past and away and towards him but revealed no one. Gilbert lurched to the side, struggling against the chains biting into his wrists and ankles and groped blindly into the darkness, trying to snatch someone.
His fingers brushed against something, and Gilbert nearly jerked back when a sudden apparition appeared in a brief flash – a colourless slumped figure trudging forwards with dull eyes and limbs bound in broken chains – before fading, footsteps clunking away from the rigid ex-Nation.
Gilbert stared blankly at that spot, his eyes stinging from the sheer whiteness of that apparition. He hurriedly looked down at his arms, pawing and squinting at the fabric of his sleeves with barely restrained franticness.
Gilbert stared up at what he thought was the ceiling. He could barely muster up enough energy to stand anymore, and he was teetering dangerously, threatening to flop against the floor from his slouched sitting position. Footsteps, loud and many, echoed all around him now but he didn't react to them anymore.
His grey uniform was starting to hang off of him, and the chains binding him were beginning to rust, some of their chain links threatening to snap. In fact, his left ankle chain snapped a day or a month or a year ago (or maybe an eternity?). When that happened, Gilbert could only blink at it in mild interest with dull grey eyes.
A writhing pain in his chest bloomed occasionally now, or, did bloom occasionally. Now, now, now it was a burning clenching ache that was slowly crushing his heart into nothingness, and each, wheezy breath seemed to bring him closer to oblivion. He felt like something horrible was happening, but for the life of him, he couldn't dreg up the energy to care.
One chain left.
Gilbert felt very tired. His colourless uniform was just hanging off of him now, and he knew, absently, that under it he probably resembled a skeleton with grey flesh pulled tight over it. Breathing was a painful activity, and Gilbert wondered why he was still doing it, but old stubbornness refused to let him give until his lungs were nothing more than dust and his heart a crushed pulp from the agony raging through his body.
Gasp of pain, and Gilbert's precarious balance shattered and he toppled onto his back, the shock of the fall sending tremors of agony through his brittle bones. A thin, gloved hand clutched at his chest, digging through the colourless fabric of his uniform as another violent roil of pain lashed through his body.
Flickers of white, apparitions drifting by clearly now, and the sole chain began to crack.
Gilbert screamed, his voice finally breaking through its seal. It was a tragic wail that rose up from the marching ranks of white apparitions, meek and broken through disuse as-
Gasping, and a hand reached out near pleadingly, Gilbert choked back the cries of pain as he felt like something was eating him from the inside out. He knew, he knew that he was, was, was-
Ludwig sighed as he approached his house. It had been a long day filled with paperwork and Feliciano and dancing around Ivan and pasta and all he wanted to do was to grab a beer, possibly pass out afterwards on his bed – or the sofa if he couldn't be bothered with the stairs.
He grimaced at his last line of thought, ignoring the small niggle that pointed out how Gilbert-like that last bit sounded. He wasn't oblivious to the other nations' musing over how, perhaps, Gilbert had joined with Ludwig at the time of his dissolution considering the brief flashes of Gilbert-like behaviour that spontaneously arouse in Ludwig, but…it didn't seem quite right in Ludwig's head.
He'd have known if his brother had joined with him, he'd have felt it, and he doubted that Gilbert would've bowed out of the world's stage without so much as a peep – he'd have probably set the curtains on fire, assaulted the audience before running out of the fire exit with that crazy laugh of his.
As he turned up the small path leading up his driveway, Ludwig frowned as his thoughts circled around his brother. Ivan had given back East Germany, and politically, East and West Germany were no longer divided, but the East Germans were still his brother's people rather than his, and he couldn't help but wonder why…
Ludwig paused suddenly, standing stiffly in the middle of his driveway as he stared at his doorstep.
Or rather, who was sitting on his doorstep.
Perched on the very edge of the step, a small albino looking child was kicking at the ground. Seeing Ludwig, the child looked up, and Ludwig felt like someone had punched him in the stomach at seeing wide scarlet eyes blink up at him, the child cocking his head to the side in slight curiosity.
"Gil…Gilbert?" Ludwig breathed, feeling the world dip and lurch sickeningly around him. What was…this!?
The child's face split into a familiar devilish grin, scarlet eyes squinting mischievously and jutting out a pale chin defiantly. "Hello!" He hummed childishly, a small hand extended out. "You're West Germany? Big brother?"
Ludwig ignored the words, slowly stepping up to the albino child and crouching down before him. He stared at the pale hand held out to him before reaching out with trembling fingers and brushing the tips along the smooth, soft skin of the child's palm.
Blue eyes met scarlet, and the child's expression softened into an old, achingly familiar look from a long time ago. Both of his hands gripped Ludwig's shaking hand, and the soft pads of his fingertips stroked the blond's scarred knuckles.
"You know…" The child – Gilbert, Ludwig's mind affirmed – murmured thoughtfully, "This feels weird, Bruder West. Like I should be bigger." Then he laughed a high pleasant childish noise. "Big like Bruder West!"
Ludwig swallowed thickly, laying his other large hand over the small pale ones. "You were…once…" He forced out. And then he laughed a rough, high strung bark before he tugged the smaller, new Nation towards him and swept him up in a hug, cheek pressed against the softness of Gilbert's white hair. "G-Gilbert…!"
Gilbert – a young and soft Gilbert – yelled and squirmed, complaining that his Bruder West was crushing him and eeww was Bruder West crying and sniffling in his hair!? That was disgusting!
"Hey! Come on!" That little defiance came out, but Ludwig couldn't stop. He just held the child against him, face buried into soft hair and shoulders trembling with a twisted mix of laughter and sobbing.
The young Gilbert stopped trying to punch him, his short arms coming around to wrap around the bigger one's shoulders. He sighed irritably.
"Stop crying, Bruder West..." He grumbled into the crook of Ludwig's neck. "You baby."
Even when reborn, Gilbert never changed.