Iron Bonds

A/N: This pairing hopped in through my bedroom window at night, like some twisted version of Edward, and consumed my soul. I gave up trying to fight it. The fic is a bit long, maybe a little too long… but I knocked myself out writing it (with some minor injuries), so it's all good. Feedback is always welcome.

Disclaimer: I believe we've all had wild wild fantasies of owning certain copyrighted materials. But what can I say? They're only fantasies. I do not own Axis Powers Hetalia nor the following two hot German men. I just make them have steamy sex in my mind. Aren't we all guilty?

A cough could be heard from amidst the carnage.

The frail noise sounded out of place in the deafening silence. The smoke hadn't yet cleared from the fresh battlefield, where the bodies of soldiers lay strewn across the trampled ground. The air reeked with the acrid scent of gunpowder, the coppery tang of spilt blood, and the sickening odor of death.

Another cough sounded, its owner struggling to draw oxygen to starving lungs. His small body lay broken on the ground, propped up by only a small mound of dirt. Once clean clothes were soiled by streaks of debris and bright blood, the navy blue fabric hardly fit for wear. Once shining azure eyes were now dull and drained of life. Once immaculate blonde hair was now filthy with dust and grime.

A tiny hand shakily rose to wipe the trickle of blood that leaked from the corner of his mouth. Desperately, he tried to blink back the film of tears blurring his vision. His memories were fading, and his aching heart cried out in despair. He strained his mind as much as he could, an image of a man in glasses and a pretty lady surfacing, before dissolving like the last notes of Mozart on the ears. The deep slash across his chest throbbed painfully, and he closed his eyes, relishing in the brief image of a maid with the most beautiful face he had ever seen.

Who were they? What were their names? Is this… what a nation dying feels like?

He was afraid, fearing what would become of him, of the others he left behind, of the future now slipping from between his hands. It was all he could do not to let the tears flow. What's to happen? Where will he go? What will…?

His ears twitched at the sound of footsteps. They drew closer and closer, never faltering in rhythm, steady and sure. Has Death finally come to spirit him away? He cracked open his weary eyes, aware of a huge shadow casting over him. The footsteps halted.

A cross.

Black in color and outlined in white, a cross was perched elegantly between two collar lapels. The inky surface contrasted with the white of a slender neck above. His gaze traced upwards to a strong chin and an aristocratic nose. But it was the pair of eyes that froze time for him. They were ruby red, the color of blood from a fresh wound. They stared down at him vacantly, taking in his small battered form. He could do nothing but stare back, his heart palpitating madly within its cage. Who was this phantom that had materialized through the smoke and ruins?

A corner of the mouth curved upward, and a little smirk bloomed across the figure's pale face. "You're a century too early to be fighting in wars like this." The words were smooth and confident.

He could only bite down on his lower lip in humiliation. The figure before him was much larger, taller, and fearsome than himself. All his efforts had been futile. All his preparations had been a waste. His tiny body shook with remorse and anguish.

"Then teach me! Tell me what I did wrong!" He shouted weakly, already knowing it was too late for him.

The smirk grew wider, revealing a hint of pearly canines. Swiftly, the figure bent down, leaning closer towards him. Without a word, it scooped him up within long arms. His body was light and offered little resistance, his head immediately resting against a firm chest. He shuddered silently, closing his eyes in exhaustion.

But not before catching the last glimpse of silvery strands of hair and burning red eyes. Then they were off, disappearing back through the smoke like phantoms.

The cool water of the river felt refreshing against his heated skin. Ludwig submerged himself until the water reached his chest, sighing in contentment. The heat of the afternoon sun could always be warded off with a quick dip in the Rhine.

It didn't, however, dispatch the aching all over his body. He had lost count of the multiple bruises scattered across his skin, and his joints screamed at him with every movement. Prussia was a beast on the training field.

He huffed in annoyance when a strand of blonde hair flopped into his eyes. He hated having anything obstruct his vision, even if it was only hair. Perhaps he should try slicking the stubborn locks back over his head. That would solve the problem.

Raising a hand, he began washing off a streak of dirt on his shoulder. Despite his exhausted body, he couldn't help the small smile forming on his lips. He was growing stronger every day, building more endurance and precision. And if he stood on his tiptoes, the top of his head could just reach Prussia's chest. Though, if he heard one more "Back straight! Feet together! Salute with the right hand! Right, I said!", he would kick something.

The sound of barking pulled Ludwig out of his reverie. He straightened immediately, ears alert for the source of the invasive noise. A Great Dane suddenly shot over the riverbank, landing with a loud splash in the water. It sloshed over to him excitedly, and began to lick his face in earnest. Soon, a second dog joined in, followed by a third.

"Alright alright! I'm getting out! I'm getting out!" Swatting at the huge dogs, Ludwig managed to climb out of the river. He was dripping wet as he wiped his forehead with the back of his hand, searching for his shed clothes. A scandalized look stole across his features when he realized they were missing.

A piercing whistle sounded beside him, causing him to jump in surprise. The dogs surrounding him backed away immediately, trotting over to the owner of the whistle. A chuckle could be heard, and he looked up to see Prussia dangling his missing undershirt and trousers in the air.

"What did I tell you about leaving your underclothes where others can find them?" The older man seemed to enjoy watching him squirm in embarrassment, never missing a single golden opportunity.

Ludwig flushed red to the tip of his blonde roots, aware of being entirely naked in front of the other man. He nearly tripped over himself in his haste to snatch away his garments, mindful of Prussia's mad laughter at the scene. He quickly dressed into his undershirt, his shaking fingers trying to do up the buttons as fast as he could. His fingers were still moist from the river, and they slipped more than once, not helping his growing embarrassment and frustration.

He stiffened when a larger pair of hands batted his clumsy fingers away. The flush returned at full force when he looked up to see Prussia bent over, deathly pale fingers carefully buttoning his shirt for him.

"Tch. How old are you now? And you can't even dress yourself." Red eyes pinned him in mock annoyance.

The blonde bit back a retort, opting to fix his gaze on the older man's fingers. He found himself examining them, almost entranced. Scratches and tiny scars marred the surface. They were vastly different than both Austria's and France's smooth hands. The digits were long and well formed, but there was always grime underneath the blunt fingernails. They also held a faint scent of steel, and the palm was heavily calloused from constantly wielding weaponry.

But, as Prussia finished the last button, Ludwig concluded that he wouldn't have those hands any different.

"Th-thank you, Prussia…" He voiced weakly, slipping on his trousers.

"'Brother' will do."

Ludwig looked up in confusion. "B-brother?" The word sounded foreign on his tongue, and he shifted uncomfortably as an unexplained warmth blossomed within his chest.

"And you damn well should be honored too! Do you have any idea how many nations are dying for a chance to call the awesome me 'brother'?" The silver-haired elder grinned cheekily down at him, before turning on his heels and walking back towards the house. "Hurry up before your next lesson starts!"

Ludwig was left to chase after the older man's retreating back. Never mind fingers, he thought resolutely, he wouldn't trade the entirety of Prussia for anything.

The door of the study creaked open as a mop of blonde hair poked through hesitantly.


Cerulean eyes scanned the interior, before its owner quietly slipped inside the silent room.

"Gilbert!" He called louder this time, picking his way through the floor littered with scrap paper and thrown-open books.

Ludwig gave up when it became apparent that the study was vacant. His brow furrowed slightly; he'd been sure the older man would be here.

The study was one of his favorite rooms in the entire house. He had long developed a passion for reading, and he happily perused the numerous books stacked on the tall bookshelves. Besides, all the books except for the few always scattered on the floor were in mint condition. Ludwig snorted at the thought; Gilbert was never much of a studious person. It was almost a waste for the study to have such an impressive collection.

His feet had led him to the large desk at the far end of the room. Something black on top attracted his attention among the white of loose paper. His curiosity was further piqued when he realized it was his brother's Iron Cross.

With utmost care, he picked up the heavy decoration. Sunlight streaming through the window caught the metal with its rays, and he admired the way the polished surface glinted. His brother had told him it was his most prized possession, symbolizing bravery and dedication on the battlefield. Ludwig knew how much the military meant to Prussia.

Sometimes, he would catch himself imagining what it was like to wear one as well, to have his brother's eyes on him full of pride…

"Ah. That's where I left it."

The unannounced voice caused an unmanly squeak to escape his lips. With a burning face, he turned to find his brother's tall form blocking the doorway. His eyes widened at having been caught, but something made him clutch onto the Cross tighter, even as his brother approached him.

Ludwig steeled himself for a smack to the head, but was surprised when Gilbert knelt down before him, not even raising a hand. Red eyes watched him carefully.

"Well? Don't just stand there."

He couldn't control the tremors along his hands as he slowly clasped the chain around his brother's neck, fixing the Cross neatly between the collars. He had never been this close to the other man for long, his brother's even breaths fanning across his nose. Though pale like the rest of him, his brother's neck was surprisingly warm. The smooth skin glided pleasantly under his fingertips, and he let them linger there. Before long, his fingers were caressing a strong jawbone, his mind reveling in the closeness of his older brother.

A cool hand gripping his wrist pulled him out of his daze. Blue eyes snapped up to meet red ones, and Ludwig almost gasped at the intensity within those depths. His brother slowly turned his face sideways, delivering a soft kiss to the center of his palm. The same lips trailed downwards, resting on the inside of his thin wrist.

The pounding noise inside his ears rose to a hammering crescendo, and he almost missed the whispered, "Thank you, little brother."

He blinked, and the moment fled. Gilbert was already standing up, a small smile on his pale lips as he raised a gloved hand to ruffle blonde locks. Then he was out the door as quickly as he had appeared.

The only sound left in the room was Ludwig's heavy breathing. He was never going to wash that hand.

Ludwig would have sighed in irritation if he wasn't trembling with suppressed fright. Outside, a clap of thunder echoed, and he clutched his pillow closer to his chest. A small twinge of shame nagged at him. Here he was, having run over to his brother's bedroom after suffering alone through the beginnings of the thunderstorm raging outside.

A streak of lightening illuminated Gilbert's bedroom, revealing crumpled clothing strewn across the floor mixed with empty bottles of beer littered near the bed. On top of the huge four-poster bed itself, Gilbert lay sprawled in a deep sleep, completely unaffected by the booming noises outside. His messy silver hairs were in tangles on the pillow and the sheets under him looked as if they've never been straightened.

Trying not to trip over a pair of underwear, Ludwig navigated his way to the bed. The beer bottles clinked against each other when he accidentally nudged them with his toes. Another flash of lightening revealed the covers barely covering Gilbert's naked chest was in the design of the Prussian flag.

Ludwig had no time to roll his eyes at his brother's patriotism, as a particularly deafening roar of thunder sent him scurrying under the covers. His brother didn't so much as stir. Funny how cannon fire would jolt the other man upright and alert, but thunder had virtually no effect.

It was nice and warm under the covers, much warmer than his own lonely bed. He twisted onto his side, snuggling into his brother's still embrace. The familiar scent of the elder washed over him, and he was comforted by the smell of steel, gunpowder, and a strong whiff of alcohol.

Burying his head deep into his brother's chest, he fell into a fitful slumber.

Gilbert woke with a start, promptly groaning as his head felt like it had been smashed repeatedly by Hungary's frying pan. "I need to take a piss…" He grumbled crassly.

That's when he noticed the bundle worming against him, and he groaned again. Really, his little brother needed to either man up or stop teasing him. What had he been thinking when he took the boy under his wing? Squirming on his bed like that…

With great effort, he sat up in bed and started to work out the kinks in his shoulders. He was just about to stand up when a warm hand rested on his bare back, successfully stopping him.

"Where are you going?"

He whipped his head around, a fire igniting below his gut at the sight. His little brother was in the middle of rubbing his drowsy eyes, his nightshirt slipping off a peach-colored shoulder as he tried to sit up as well. Normally neat blonde hair was ruffled in all directions from sleep and a plump bottom lip was being worried between a row of white teeth.

Never had the urge to molest his little brother burned so strongly. Life was so unfair! Of course, his little brother would be attracted to his awesomeness, but it was so complicated when he was so young, and the kid was…

Fuck it all. Roderich had already damned him enough times that he knew he was going to hell.

Leaning down, he captured his little brother's lips with his own. The boy made the most arousing noise at the contact, and his pale hands came up to grip onto small shoulders. He wasted no time in swiping his tongue across the other's moist lips, delighted when they parted for him. The interior of the blonde's mouth was a living furnace, slick and pliant under his questing tongue. His own wet muscle roamed over the ridged roof, sliding over every corner and crevice. The kiss was a little sloppy in his haste, and he broke it with a smacking noise.

Gilbert leaned back to admire his handiwork, noting the poor boy's harsh gasps, pink cheeks, and a trickle of their combined saliva leaking down towards the chin. A smirk of satisfaction lighted on his lips at the thought of his saliva still swishing around inside the other's mouth.

"Stop looking like that, before I really show you five meters…"

And with that, he lazily rose to his feet, stumbling towards the bathroom.

"You warmongering barbarians! Think you can just march in and seize Silesia… Why I never…! You and that French bastard!" The effect of Austria's tirade was slightly dimmed as he paused to adjust his glasses. A light pink dusted his cheeks in humiliation, and he completed his 'distressed noble' look by crossing his arms over a new waistcoat.

"Oh put a cap on it, ya pansy!" Gilbert exclaimed around a mouthful of food, pilfered from the Austrian's pantry moments ago. "I seized your vital regions fair and square, so do us a favor and mope to your piano like you're supposed to… And goddamn your potatoes taste like shit!"

Roderich pinned Gilbert with a flat look. "Then stop eating my food."

The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was still drying on the wall when the silver-haired Prussian stormed into Austria's kitchen with a reluctant Germany in tow. He then proceeded to scold him on Austrian hospitality before helping himself to lunch. Fortunately for him, Hungary was conveniently absent.

Despite previous complaint, Gilbert shoveled another spoonful of potatoes into his mouth. "It's called the spoils of victory, you dimwit. Not that you would know what that means. Isn't that right, little brother?" He nudged the blonde beside him in the ribs.

Ludwig poked at the plate of potatoes warily. "I… I suppose if you add some salt…" He trailed off uncertainly.

Gilbert sniggered madly, clearing his plate and reaching for a third helping.

Roderich adjusted his glasses again, staring down his nose at the Prussian in disdain. "Tch. Just admit you're hungry and you're too lazy to shop."

"Of course! Because I've been too busy wiping the floor with your ass!" He'd never admit it aloud, but he thanked the heavens Elizaveta was not present. It wasn't his fault the stiff Austrian was so fun to rile up.

Shooting the duo one last dirty glare, Roderich excused himself from his own kitchen, retiring to the music room.

Finally, after putting away the fourth plate, Gilbert leaned back with a sigh of sated contentment. Nothing like raiding Austria's kitchen every once in a while. He glanced at his little brother out of the corner of his eye, a smirk dancing on his lips.

"I'm ready for a nap. Come on, let's see how soft Austrian mattresses are." Without waiting for the German to respond, he grabbed Ludwig by the arm. Together, they clambered up the stairs, the staccato notes of Haydn chasing after their heels.

The door of the guest room opened and closed with a bang, secluding the brothers off from the rest of the house. Gilbert sighed in contentment again, reaching up to undo the buttons of his blue uniform jacket. He tossed the heavy material haphazardly on the floor, stalking over to his younger brother. The blonde was just on the second button when Gilbert stopped him.

"Don't take off your uniform yet. It wouldn't look half as good." A devilish grin split the elder's face.

In a swift movement, he wrapped his arms around his brother's shoulders, fixing a shiny new Iron Cross around the strong neck. He dimly noted that he didn't need to bend down anymore to reach the other's neck; the German had grown to easily his height.

He watched in poorly disguised amusement as Ludwig produced an incomprehensible noise in his throat, shock written all over his features. Rendering his brother speechless required more and more effort as the decades passed, and the Prussian reveled in every opportunity.

"Now our bond can truly be made of iron." Gilbert couldn't help his grin morph into an easy smile. He had never seen his brother's eyes hold so much brilliance.


Pressing at the fine blonde hairs on the back of Ludwig's head, he smashed their lips together, his ears loving the sound of their Crosses colliding. He could feel his brother's hands running down his sides, fisting his shirt right at the waist.

Leaning more of his body weight onto the blonde, he deepened the kiss in triumph when they both collapsed onto the bed. The springs underneath creaked almost obscenely. With one last swipe of his tongue, Gilbert broke the kiss, leering at his brother's swollen lips. A sudden thought popped inside his head, and he had to voice it.

"Don't you find it weird that those two Italian brothers sleep naked together?"

Ludwig stared back from underneath him incredulously. "You're one to talk!"

Gilbert busied himself toying with the short blonde strands between his fingers. "No… we go in dressed and then get naked."

"That's because you have this strange fetish with uniforms." Ludwig reminded him in a low voice.

Gilbert's grin threatened to split his face in two, his eyes practically glowing crimson. "Goddamn I'm awesome… raising a hot piece of ass like you."

The younger man had the decency to blush pink, before being dragged into another bruising kiss.

The view from the balcony was incredible.

No one could deny the lavish décor of France's house. How he could make roses bloom in the winter was anyone's guess. It was too bad the strength of his military had waned ever since Napoleon was shipped overseas.

The air was thick with the perfume of flowers wafting up from the gardens below, but all Gilbert could smell was victory. The thought of Francis in a back room sulking in defeat, nursing a black eye no less, put him in a splendid mood. But the pervert could still cook like there was no tomorrow.

"Did you see his face back at Versailles? He looked like he couldn't decide whether to shoot or jump us."

Ludwig watched his brother dissolve into laughter from his standing place between the elder's legs. The Prussian had hoisted himself up to sit on the balcony railing, maneuvering his brother so that he could easily drape his arms over the blonde's shoulders.

Twilight was lazily transforming into night, calling in a cooler breeze. Fireflies were quickly becoming visible, drifting up to dart around the pair. Ludwig drank in the sight of his older brother greedily, admiring how the setting sun made the silver strands shimmer. Red eyes stared down at him lovingly, the color so different from his own, but reflecting the same emotion. He inhaled deeply, noting the clash of floral scents with his brother's prevailing coppery smell.

His hand came up to cup a pale cheek, silencing the older man with a thumb on his lips before he could launch into another speech. The skin beneath his thumb was velvety smooth, though slightly chapped at the corners. Feeling rather adventurous, he wormed his thumb between those pale lips, sticking the digit inside his brother's mouth.

A bolt of lust shot straight to his groin as the elder sucked the digit further inside his moist cavern, a slick tongue working to coat the skin in a heavy layer of saliva. A million words were exchanged, conveyed only through their eyes.

With a particularly hard suck, Gilbert leaned back slightly, allowing his brother's wet thumb to slide out. Mischief danced merrily across his features, lighting up his smirk.

"Don't tell me you're thinking about bending me over right here on this balcony…"

Against his well-trained resolve, Ludwig couldn't help the torrent of images assaulting his mind at the words. He had always suspected his brother to be a closet exhibitionist. But before he could properly respond, he felt his breath hitch as Gilbert leaned down close to his ear. The appendage was soon bathed in puffs of hot air. "We don't want to give Francis any more ideas, do we?"

With a fleeting chuckle, Gilbert slid down easily from the railing. The mischievous smirk never left his face as he pulled his younger brother back inside the bedroom.

Night had descended heavily upon Paris. Only the sound of crickets filled the night air and the crescent moon hung like a silver beacon in the inky sky. Ludwig found himself unable to sleep. The heavy ticking of the old grandfather clock failed to lull him into a peaceful slumber, neither could his older brother's rhythmic breathing next to his ear.

The large bed held all the evidence and look of several rounds of wild romping between the sheets. His brother was sprawled on top of him, a pale arm and even paler leg hooked around his larger form possessively. Memories trickled through his mind, and he flushed slightly. Gilbert had the absolute dirtiest mouth while riding him.

He sighed deeply, burying his pink face in his brother's shoulder, taking comfort in their matching even breathing. His hand unconsciously began trailing down the other's back, rubbing his fingers over each protruding segments of the spine. He paid special attention to the numerous scars scattered over the warm skin, each telling a page in history. Sometimes, he wished nothing more than to run his tongue over his brother's strong back, kissing every scar across his path.

He caught himself just as his hand drifted over the tailbone. Ludwig bit his lower lip in a moment of hesitation, before giving in with a resigned groan. He let his hand travel over his brother's ass; the pink on his cheeks turning a shade darker when he gently squeezed, effectively groping his brother's sleeping form.

But damn if Gilbert didn't have the firmest ass he had ever laid eyes on.

He froze when the other shifted drowsily, mumbling under his breath about beer, awesomeness, and baby chicks. The movement caused their crotches to move closer together under the scant covers. Shortly afterward, all was still again. Ludwig squeezed his eyes shut tightly; it was going to be a long night.

The midday sun had just passed its zenith, now on its steady journey west.

Autumn was evident in the air, the breezes becoming slightly cooler and the trees cloaking themselves in yellows and oranges. The fields were ripe for harvesting, tall stalks of rye and barley shadowing the two men lying on the grass.

The afternoon sun warmed the back of Gilbert's neck, the heat sinking through his thin shirt at the back. Currently, he could care less about the heat or much of anything else, his tongue shoved far down his younger brother's throat with no intention of retreating any time soon.

The deep kiss was as languid as the slow autumn day, slick lips sliding sensually over slick lips and twin tongues taking their time exploring the inside of sultry mouths. Gilbert practically purred as his ego was stroked; he could feel his brother turn into putty beneath him, submitting to his wandering hands. Pale fingers had wormed their way underneath Ludwig's undershirt, caressing and rubbing circles over the warm skin. And he would smirk into the kiss every time he ground down his pelvis, causing the younger to moan just like that. He would never get enough of Ludwig.

Regrettably, he broke the heavy make-out session, shivering as their moist lips came apart with a sinful smack. He leered down at the blonde, eyes taking in the flushed cheeks and swollen lips. Their breaths mingled together in short pants and he pushed up his brother's undershirt smoothly, fingers continuing their teasing.

"Some beer sounds good right about now."

He sighed wistfully, imagining all the wicked things he could do with the amber liquid splashed all over his brother. It was just as good as chugging it down after a long day. In fact, he couldn't decide which was better.

Ludwig quirked up a corner of his lip. "Ah. And some wurst."

Gilbert disintegrated into mad chuckles, his red eyes dancing with mirth. He pressed their faces even closer together, grinning widely. "Glad to see that Italian hasn't corrupted you into stuffing your face with pasta."

"As if that would ever happen." His brother was quick with a retort.

Gilbert tried to picture the blonde forking mouthfuls of sauce-lathered pasta into his mouth, sniggering at the mental image. His eyes trailed down to that same mouth, and he licked his pale lips before diving down for another scorching kiss. His brother didn't taste like the soggy white noodles at all.

He was about to take their tops completely off when his ears pricked at the sound of footsteps. Who could be wandering around the fields that day?

"O-oh! Oh dear… I… I didn't mean… to… um… I didn't know…"

The silver-haired man tilted his head up to see a very flustered Toris staring down at them, his face beet red and eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. A basket of mushrooms dangled from his arm, but the trembling Lithuanian threatened to spill it all. Gilbert internally groaned; it was the perfect time of the year to pick mushrooms and harvest the rye. To make it worse, his brother sported a similar distressed face, arms coming up halfway to push him off.

"Like, get a room, you two!"

Feliks's unimpressed face popped out from behind Toris, his dainty mouth curving down in mock disdain. The Pole's perfectly manicured hands gripped onto the brunette's forearms, contrasting with the Lithuanian's shaking soil-stained ones. "Can't you see we're, like, totally busy here?"

Gilbert's luck couldn't get worse. Now there was no chance in getting his brother back into the mood. "Oh go skip through your rye fields already! We were busy too!"

The Pole's jaw dropped in a look of exaggerated shock. "For your information, we were here first because it's, like, the time of the year for harve-… Toris? Wait up, Toris! I wasn't finished giving those totally rude Germans a piece of my mi-… Toris!"

But the Lithuanian was already dragging away the insistent Feliks, looking as if he couldn't get away fast enough. Somehow, the basket of mushrooms managed to stay upright.

Back on the grass, Gilbert rolled his eyes after the retreating duo. What a pair of weirdos… He quickly turned his attention back onto his brother, the same grin splitting his face again. "So… where were we?"

The question only earned him a smack upside the head.

It was raining.

The downpour drenched the debris-littered ground, muddied the desolate streets, and soaked their worn military uniforms. The bloodiest war in history was over, and the rain was washing away the bloodstains.

Thunder echoed, and Berlin had never seemed so broken and dreary.

The city was his pride and glory, witnessing every action of Germany even long before it gained its current name. His heart cracked at what it was forced to watch now. How had everything come to this?

His dear older brother was sitting in the wet street barely a few steps away, but the distance never felt so far apart before. The rain plastered the dull silver strands to his scalp, where his head hung down in defeat. Bloodstains, new and old, splattered the blue uniform in messy patterns, and a trail of blood trickled down a pale cheek, mixing with the rain droplets. The colossal form of Russia loomed over him ominously, a chain coiled around his large hands.

"Gilbert! Get up! Get up, you lousy foo-…!" He was cut off as Alfred's gloved hand clamped down across his mouth, silencing him. His struggling was also futile; Arthur and Francis held him down fast in their iron grip. He breathed heavily through his nose, cerulean eyes widening at the realization that their nation will cease to become whole.

Ivan moved quickly and efficiently, binding his fallen charge tightly around both arms. The Prussian voiced no protest, his body uncharacteristically silent. Finished, Ivan stood again, casting one final glance over at his allies. His stony violet eyes betrayed no emotion. In one swift movement, he grabbed the silver-haired man's Iron Cross, forcefully ripping it off. The battered emblem skittered to a halt on the slippery pavement, clanking roughly at Ludwig's feet. Rain was already starting to wash away the bloodstains on the metal. The clinking of chains cut through the air, and the Russian began hauling his charge off in the opposite direction.

Ludwig didn't know when his vision became so blurry.

The pair was moving away fast, but Gilbert suddenly raised his head. The crimson orbs flickered with a hidden fire as they stared straight at his brother unblinkingly. Slowly, a small smile curved his bloodless lips.

"Ne, West… you were the best thing I've ever done in my life."

The words flittered on the wings of a butterfly to his ears, and Ludwig felt his face bathe in more than just rainwater. It was the closest thing to I love you he would ever receive from his brother.

Why can't you just say it?

Because I don't need to.

It was the ugliest thing he had ever seen in his life, all stone and unyielding.

But what could he do?

The Berlin Wall was truly a reality, an impenetrable barrier preventing any trade or communication. It was a silent giant blotting the level landscape, clothed in barbed wire and painted over in graffiti. Sentries patrolled along its length, faces as stony as the wall itself.

He had backed himself against the cold stone, scraping his knuckles against the rough surface. And yet, the Wall was the closest he can get to his brother. He leaned his blonde head back with a long sigh, cool azure eyes transfixed on the low horizon. Storm clouds brewed overhead, a reminder of upcoming rain.

How can something be so cold and unforgiving?

A pause.

Well what'd you expect? For it to be hot like a freshly boiled potato?

Ludwig lurched in a surprised start, his heart beating frantically against his ribs. A gloved hand came up to clutch his chest, feeling as if the erratic organ would soon burst. He choked back the sudden clog of saliva at the back of his throat, inhaling deeply the moist air.


What? Are you turning into that whacked Englishman? You're not raving about fairies with me gone, are you?

The blonde exhaled slowly, forcing himself to calm down. He guessed his brother was right behind him, also pressed against the Wall.

No, I'm raving about our divided nation.

Huh, really? I'd though you'd have worse things to worry about, what with that hamburger freak, Kirkland, and Bonnefoy breathing down your neck.

Y-you learn, I suppose.

Tell me, has that perky Italian been visiting?

An image of the sunny Feliciano popped inside his mind, his brown eyes perpetually smiling and his ahoge bouncing with each step. Though, lately, the Italian had brought it upon himself to bring platter after platter of every kind of pasta imaginable to try and be of some comfort. Ludwig didn't have the heart to turn him away after the fourth visit. Even Lovino kept tight-lipped around him, opting to bury his face in a tomato to stave off insults. The German didn't know if the sudden pity party was any better.

More times than what I can take, yes.

It might have simply been his imagination when he heard Gilbert let out a humorless chuckle.

Life was simpler back then, hmm West?

And Ludwig knew his brother was referring to before the war. Before even Napoleon and Bismarck. Back when males sported extravagant hats and even more extravagant hair. Back when he had to tilt his head up to look at his brother in the face.

Would you go back if you had the chance?

He was surprised when there was a brief moment of silence. He had expected Gilbert to jump on the affirmative.

I'm not sure anymore if the loneliness is worth it.

Azure eyes widened at the confession. His heart sank when he realized that he had never once thought about Gilbert's role in their relationship or even of before he had came into his brother's life. He was always the younger brother and the silver-haired man was always the older brother. Their roles would never change, despite their reversed personalities, despite the flow of history around them.

He couldn't remember a single time when Gilbert had doted on him. But he did remember the hours upon hours the elder had spent teaching him complex war strategies and first aid on battle wounds. He couldn't remember a single time when Gilbert fussed over him. But he did remember the ferocious fights the elder put up with Roderich on every issue concerning him. He couldn't remember a single time when Gilbert had tucked him into bed. But he did remember the beer and wurst the elder piled onto his plate always tasted twice as good as anybody else's.

And the way those red orbs stared down at him with so much swirling emotion, more so than when he looked at someone else. Even more than Elizaveta, whom he knew Gilbert shared a long history with.

Before he could stop himself, his hand had found its way inside the left pocket of his uniform, fingers fisting over the Iron Cross tucked within.

I'm sorry I never reali-…

He was cut off suddenly, his brother's voice eerily mature-sounding.

No, West. I'm the one that should be apologizing. Of all the things I wanted you to experience, I never wanted you to know loneliness.

His grip on the metal tightened until the polished edges dug into his palm painfully. How could the other even think of such a thing?

Gilbert. I was never lonely.

He inhaled sharply when an image of his brother's face appeared inside his mind: the same silver tresses gleaming in the reflected light, the same crimson eyes fastened on his soul. But instead of the usual impish smirk, a rare smile blossomed across his pale face.

He blinked, and the image was gone.

East…? East!

Only silence answered him.

October 3rd.

The air was alive with every sound imaginable. A flood was occurring, and nothing in the world could possibly stop it. A flood of people rushed past of him in blurs, breaking down the Wall like it was made from paper and building up his heart. A flood of emotions washed over him, and he could feel every single tear shed in relief, every laughter echoed in joy, every rush of adrenaline spurring them on.

And he just stood there, amidst the chaos and reunions, blonde hair slicked back impeccably as always, crystal-clear blue eyes gazing in awe.

The Berlin Wall melted like butter in the hot sun.

He stood there until the sun crawled lower in the sky, until the cheering died down to a low roar, until the border cleared a little of the thousands swarming around it. He stood there until the last ray of the dying sun alighted on a silver strand of hair, making it gleam like the surface of polished metal.

The silver gave way to an expanse of pale skin, a pair of bright crimson eyes, and thin lips curved in a shadow of a smile. His brother was there opposite him, like a phantom surfacing from the rubble of the collapsed Wall.

His first step was hesitant, before escalating into a quick walk. He didn't know when he started running, the smaller figure before him approaching nearer and nearer. Finally, he enveloped the shorter man in a tight embrace, throwing his arms around him and squeezing him closer. He was almost afraid to let go.

Never again. Never again. Never aga-…

A weak chuckle sounded close to his ear. "I think this is the best 'welcome home' I've ever received. If only you did this back when I returned bloody and injured from battles."

Ludwig couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry at his brother's statement.

He forced himself to loosen the suffocating hold on Gilbert, holding the elder at arms length to examine him. His heart swelled within his chest when he saw that his brother was still as beautiful and alluring as the first day he laid eyes on him. How long had it been since he last heard that obnoxious voice ringing in his ears? How long had it been since he last touched him?

He sank to his knees, dragging down a laughing Gilbert with him. He buried his face in his brother's shoulder, inhaling deeply the scent of steel and gunpowder through the blue fabric. The scent had long been branded into his mind, opening the gate of distant childhood memories. He felt Gilbert wrap his long arms around his neck, nudging his face up until their foreheads touched, reveling in each other's company.

The blonde watched his brother open his mouth to speak, before red eyes suddenly widened. Words morphed into a series of coughs, the proximity of their faces causing flecks of blood to dot Ludwig's cheek. His breath left him, blue eyes landing on the ruby droplets staining the other's pale lips.

"Ah… l-let me get that for you…" He watched in mute horror as Gilbert bowed his head, hands searching within his numerous pockets for a handkerchief.

Panic gripped him momentarily, before dulling into hardened resolve. He couldn't stop a questing tongue from poking out between the seam of his lips, sliding over to lick at the blood on his cheek. The taste was bitter, an echo of the years the Prussian was under Soviet control, loneliness consuming everything but never voiced aloud. Ludwig bit his lip until his own coppery taste mixed with his brother's in his mouth.

He dug his hand hastily inside the left pocket of his uniform, pulling out the chain with Gilbert's Iron Cross and fastening it around the unsuspecting man's neck, fixing it neatly between the blue collar. His eyes softened when his brother froze, red eyes blinking down at the precious decoration. Gently, he tilted up the other's face, leaning down swiftly to press their lips together tightly.


All noises faded into the background, his senses filled with only his brother, but his ears didn't miss the sound of their twin Crosses colliding.

As long as we can both wear our Iron Crosses with pride side-by-side facing the unknown future, we'll be all right.