A/N: Just learned this from Papa. Also, Lex came up with a cool scene and so did I. 3
And for this I think I'll have Prussia actually be alive. Because Prussia is love. 3
Ludwig, the embodiment of Germany, poked through the bills, sighing rather irritably at some of the bills being higher than others, most importantly pertaining to his brother living in his basement like some bizarre, albino cave dweller. Ludwig rubbed his temples as he looked at the internet bill. He would definitely have to have a talk with Gilbert about this. Ludwig worked with the government, but that didn't mean Gilbert could or even should rack up the bills like this! Ludwig would definitely get Gilbert out of the house more often for this. Perhaps the U.N. meeting would be a good start for that.
Ludwig could remember a time when Gilbert was into everything, albeit, up to a point. Gilbert's journals were always a better source of what a life he had led. Up to about the mid-eighteenth century Ludwig had no recollection of anything though he had a sense that he was older than that. To try to remember would cause Ludwig a great deal of pain in his head, as though it was meant to stay locked away. His earliest memories were when he was a little boy and had to constantly stay with a nurse.
Ludwig looked up at Gilbert as he drank his beer from a mug. Ludwig had managed to lose his nurse in wandering in the house and found Gilbert sitting in a chair and drinking beer. He stood and stared at Gilbert with those expressionless blue eyes of his, his hair a bit messy from running off from his nurse's side. Gilbert finally looked over and blinked at Ludwig for a moment and then grinned. "Hey, Ludwig, come over here."
Ludwig walked over and sat down next to Gilbert, looking up at him still with that expressionless face of his. Gilbert looked mildly disturbed by it, but said nothing about it. "So, you ran off from your nurse, hmm?"
"You didn't say you had come home, bruder," said Ludwig.
"I come and go, you know that," said Gilbert quickly, "Besides I'm generally busy, right? I'm Prussia! I've got lots of things to do!" When Ludwig didn't react, Gilbert drank some of his beer again, once again looking mildly disturbed by the too quiet little boy beside him. "Listen, if you're going to sit next to me at least try not to look at me like that."
This time Ludwig's face changed to one of mild confusion. "Look at you like what?"
"That look you've got there. You're not going to get any girls if you don't smile, you know," said Gilbert, grinning as Ludwig's cheeks went pink. He seemed to expect a slightly different expression, but Ludwig hardly knew why. Sometimes when he was with bruder he seemed to think bruder thought he was someone else.
Ludwig did his best to smile and ended up just looking creepier than when he was simply expressionless. Gilbert watched as Ludwig apologized and then tried again with marginally better results. The perfect German, that's what Ludwig was; he worked at the task given to him until he had perfected it. It was how he had been able to relearn terms and names so quickly. Gilbert then patted Ludwig on the head and leaned back, wrapping an arm around him and pulling against his side. "Listen, kid, keep at it and you'll find reasons to smile properly," said Gilbert. Ludwig flushed faintly and leaned into his brother's side, happy to have his older brother back for a little while.
Ludwig could also remember days when Gilbert was not there while Ludwig had had an attack inside his own head. Ludwig tried his best to bury anything that might disturb his brother, since he prized his brother's company above all. He was the only thing he really had left to identify with, though Roderich Edelstein, the personification of Austria, was helpful in some ways. His library was certainly very handy.
Ludwig could remember when Gilbert had sent him off to India to disrupt relations with Britain, although he was still certain Gilbert might have done a better job. In the end, Ludwig went and when he had met India he was supposed to try to persuade her to come join with Germany and Prussia rather than side with Great Britain. Gilbert's main purpose, outside of making Britain angry and trying to take away India from him, was to get Ludwig laid. Well, to that end, Ludwig had succeeded, but in getting India to join up with him and his brother was another matter entirely. It was hard to ignore India when she was such a beautiful and exotic woman.
Ludwig's cheeks flushed a bit and he put the whole matter from his mind and eyed the bills again, attempting to focus on them again. Right then his phone went off and he picked it up off of the table he sat at and opened it up. "Hallo," he said into the receiver. Then, slowly, his expression turned grave and then disbelieving. "You can't be serious!" he snapped.
It was one of the people close to his leader calling him. "The genetics done on the bodies of Eva Braun and Hitler showed it was not them at all. That means they escaped and faked their deaths," said the woman on the line.
Ludwig shook with anger. He would've preferred being able to kill the monster himself, but was glad the man had decided to take the cowardly route of killing himself. Now, Ludwig didn't even have that much solace! He shut his phone and slammed it down on the table, still shaking. The very man who had wreaked havoc on him and his brother, nearly killed his brother with his policies, had lived that much longer than he should have!
Gilbert kept the handkerchief up to his mouth; it was filthy with dried blood and dirt. His generally very pale complexion was sickening in appearance, though his blood red eyes were as bright as ever. He hadn't bothered to change out of his uniform after the night raid he just headed on the Jews. Ludwig looked on as Gilbert looked as though he was going to vomit, but held the burning in his chest back. Ludwig wasn't certain how long Gilbert could keep stifling it, but he knew he would try until he couldn't do so much longer.
"Bruder, go get some sleep," said Ludwig softly, trying to not look at him.
"Can't," said Gilbert, "But whatever. I don't give a fuck."
Ludwig frowned deeply and stood up; he ran his fingers through his smoothed back pale blonde hair and looked off away from his brother. "Why did you come to my house?" he asked softly.
"Didn't feel like going home," said Gilbert. He then reached for a bottle of beer and opened it, sitting back and knocking back half of it in one go. "Besides, you like it when I come around."
Ludwig noticed Gilbert's face was thinner. He'd lost a little weight. He was still as strong as ever, for if he wasn't he likely wouldn't be sent off to perform the tasks he had been given. Even still, the realization that he had not seen his brother's cheekbones even slightly pronounced as they were right then. Perhaps it was just the light in the room that cast the look on him. Or, perhaps the losses were a lot greater than Ludwig had realized for his brother.
"Get some sleep, bruder," said Ludwig as he stood up. "You can use the guest room upstairs."
Gilbert grinned a bit at Ludwig. "Can I bring a girl up?"
"You're only staying one night!" Ludwig snapped. Gilbert rolled his eyes and downed the rest of the beer quickly before standing up. "Bruder?"
"Eh, I'll sleep on the couch later. It's more comfortable than that lumpy piece of shit you call a guest bed," said Gilbert before walking out, leaving Ludwig to watch the door with a very worried expression on his face.
The little Austrian man stood not far from Ludwig, unmoved by the pallor of the personification of Germany. Ludwig stood and glared at the man, putting a handkerchief up to his mouth to stifle the bleeding, his chest burning badly. He was losing men out on the front lines and it was reflecting on his body. He had seen the state of his brother, though. Gilbert, though strong of will, was less of himself than he used to be. He was thinner, he had a strange sort of shadow of a tattooed serial number on his left wrist that Ludwig got a glimpse at only once.
"You're not just rerouting them to a different area, are you," said Ludwig. "It isn't enough that we fight to expand, but you eliminate those inside our borders as well?" asked Ludwig, his deep voice cold and angry.
Hitler looked to him coldly, devoid of any care inside those eyes of his. He held his hands behind his back as he looked back out the window. "Nein, they are being disposed of. I am simply getting rid of the filth that has been polluting the German peoples."
Ludwig's jaw tightened at that admission, his fists clenching at his sides, his blue eyes glaring piercingly at der Fuhrer as though willing him to drop dead right there. "You're wounding me," said Ludwig, "You're killing my brother!"
"And you and your brother will be stronger for it," said Hitler. Ludwig snapped his fist out and knocked Hitler back into the wall with a blow to his face. The guards ran in and grabbed Ludwig, hauling him away from Hitler before he could do more damage to the little bastard. Hitler moved back to his feet and put a clean handkerchief up to his mouth and nose, looking Ludwig squarely in the eyes. "Put him into solitary confinement," he said. Then, the guards pulled Ludwig away.
Ludwig wasn't sure how long he had been sitting in that cell. He'd screamed at the walls, screamed at the window, shouted to anyone who would listen what monstrosities were being done under their very noses and all he had received in response was silence. When he couldn't scream anymore, he sat in a corner and just waited. He waited for what felt like ages, his stomach growling until they brought him food once a day, his mouth dry until they gave him water twice a day. He felt like a caged animal.
When the door finally opened and Gilbert stood with one of the officers, looking at him with an unreadable expression, Ludwig was allowed out. Ludwig saw der Fuhrer in the hallway looking at him with a cold smile and wanted to punch him again, but kept the urge in check. "See? Now do you see things my way?" he asked.
"Ja," said Ludwig. Then, he was escorted away.
Ludwig watched as the Nazi flag set to flame, flickering as it burned up. The flames danced in Ludwig's eyes, though he showed no feeling in them. He heard footsteps stop behind him and didn't bother to look around to know what sort of person was behind him.
"That's illegal!" cried an SS officer. "That's treason! You're burning the flag!"
Ludwig turned around then and walked away from the blaze, the fire burning behind him like Hell's fires as he looked to the officer. "It's not a flag," he said softly. As he passed the dumbstruck officer he spoke again, "It is Hitler's funeral shroud."
Once again Ludwig found himself in that rotten cell, replaying the moment when he was strapped into a chair and treated to the same interrogation treatment as the spies and traitors. He had been beaten until he bled, was bruised, his legs broken, but he had not yielded to them. He simply took it, keeping silent. They set his legs and let his naturally fast healing take over, they bandaged was bled, but in the end they would just do it again.
So he sat in the cell, his legs straight out in front of him in splints to keep them straight, and stayed silent. This was his punishment for speaking out, for being caught doing something against der Fuhrer. Pretty soon they would pull him out again and do more damage to him. Perhaps Gilbert would be told Ludwig was tied up at that moment and unable to talk to him or even come to the front lines with him. Or, perhaps Gilbert was told that if he went to talk to Ludwig then Ludwig would receive worse treatment. Ludwig wasn't certain what would be told to his brother if he inquired where Ludwig was, but Ludwig was fairly certain they wouldn't let him see his older brother Prussia until he was set free from the cage.
He would simply have to be better at keeping his treason quiet, learn to become the greatest actor in all of Europe and be the epitome of the perfect Nazi until such a time when the mask could finally come free. He could withstand the punishment they gave him, but he knew it was only a matter of time until they decided to be far more forceful with him.
Ludwig stared at the offending phone on the table and moved away, standing quickly and walking out. Gilbert looked up from the computer and blinked in confusion, a sandwich in his mouth. "Oi, West, what the fuck is wrong with you?"
"You remember the bodies that were found of Hitler and Eva Braun?" asked Ludwig softly.
"They're faked." Then, Ludwig walked out.
Gilbert leaned back into the chair he sat in and frowned deeply, put off from his sandwich. "Fuck." Then, he moved back to his sandwich and munched on it a bit. "At least he's likely dead now."