This fic was written for the livejournal community "hetalia_contest", the prompt word being "liars." I hope you all enjoy!!

Disclaimer: Me no ownie Hetalia!!


Gamble

Ludwig coughed into his hand, choking on absolutely nothing, though his lungs felt as heavy as they had during the war, like they were caked with dirt. The fact that he had a cold did not help in the least, but if there was one thing the German was not about to do, it was appear weak in front of his enemies.

The fact was that he was sick, though. War debts, massive inflation, and he'd lost so many peopleā€¦ he'd lost The Great War.

Ludwig coughed again, this time harder, raspier, making his entire chest burn in pain. There was a document on the table, neatly printed, and at first glance not betraying it's contents, be they good or evil. Shallow, dull blue eyes were glazed over, focused on the paper, but refusing to take in a word. Because, he knew the moment that he read the "treaty", the loss would become real.

But there was the flipside; Germany was not a weakling, and certainly not afraid of anything the Triple Entente would throw at him. So taking in a deep breath (and trying to ignore the tiredness of his bones), he picked up the sheet and started to read.

"The Treaty of Versailles."

It felt as if he were reading the sheet from outside of his body, the way his mind took in the words like a processor, completely reactionless. But it was a forced expression, as he desperately tried to ignore the pangs in his chest, almost as strong as actual bullet shots.

"...demilitarization... concession of Alsace and Lorraine... paying reparations to all Entente countries... accepting full responsibility for the war...."

Eyes still glazed over, his mind was not fully on, and did not want to be on and bear witness to the injustice that had been placed before him, the one he was being forced to sign.

His gaze lifted from the paper, words still trying to be processed, but a mental block keeping them out, and turned his cold, unfeeling eyes to meet the smirk of Francis.

Francis, who was very lucky that Ludwig could barely lift a pen, otherwise he might have had a significantly smaller number of teeth than he walked into the room with.

Arthur and Alfred were there as well, looking a bit more somber as proper for the occasion than Francis, but the gleam of victory was still there.

"Sign, Germany."

He had no choice.


Ludwig was still coughing, but these were not so raspy anymore, no longer as draining as they were seventeen years ago. But then, he'd gone through so much those past seventeen years, that the Germany present at the Paris Peace Conference was barely the same as the one who now stood proudly behind a new boss. A new boss who wanted all the same things Germany wanted, and a boss who could make him great again.

He had a military again; a great military. And normally he was such a stickler for the rules, but why should he have to play fair when France wasn't, and the rest of the Allies weren't either; why should Germany be made to adhere to a promise he'd made half-dead and with absolutely no other choice, while they force him to shoulder the entire burden of a war that he didn't even start, and gave him punishments that the world later agreed were too strict, too much?

So, feeling rebellious, renewed youth flowing in his veins again, he occupies the Rhineland. It's a huge risk, a giant gamble, and he and his boss know this well-

But nothing happens. Francis becomes scared, yes, but there is no retaliation, no attempt by the League of Nations to stop Germany. So he grins a wild, feral little grin and continues.

20 years after World War I ended, after the ink signed on that meaningless piece of parchment that had antagonized Germany for so long, things were looking very, very different in Ludwig's eyes. The ink was drying on a newer document; a deal with the Soviet Union, an alliance. It was very simple, Feliks had land, and both he and Ivan wanted it. So, it made sense for them to team up to get it. And so, they did. Just like that.

When Ludwig is to muse on this moment 10 years into the future, he's going to wonder who the person in his skin was, because it certainly wasn't him. But, on September 1, 1939, in the moment when England and France declared war on Germany, Ludwig's stomach lurched in anticipation, and the excitement coursing through him was so raw, he fell to the ground laughing.

End


Notes:

-Germany lost World War I in 1919 to the Triple Entente (the alliance between UK, France, and Russia, as well as the US and somewhat Japan later on). The war ended with the Treaty of Versailles, in which Germany was blamed for the entire war and made to pay reparations, even though it was Austria who first declared war on Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdiniand that started the chain of events that turned into World War I. World War I was referred to as The Great War until World War II, which was even bigger, happened.

-France in particular was very cruel to Germany in the treaty. While the US and UK were satisfied with weaker punishments, France really wanted to strip Germany of basically everything it could. Germany fell into huge debt, which led to hyperinflation, and widespread poverty. It was quite a mess after WWI, until the Nazi Party took over in 1933.

Again, I'm going to ask you all for feedback. I must honestly admit this fic could have been done better, and that I'm not too proud of it, but I regret to say that I have a really annoying cold right now that's given me a miserable headache. And said headache affects my ability to write and edit, apparently. Please review!!!

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