I never said 'I LOVE YOU' to anyone. It was 1943, Ludwig lost the Leningrad thing. Cold, cruel winter, that what it was. Iwan seemed to be happy. He's just fucked up, that's what I think. Almost everyone in Moscow was starving, they ended up eating each other when we cut their food supplies. Yet they couldn't surrender. Because he wouldn't let them. So after the Leningrad defeat Ludwig gave up on Russia. And I had no chance to help my brother, even if, believe me, I wanted to. I didn't have enough people. It wasn't my war. But I believed that my time will come, again. I will start fighting and winning. Alongside West, with cute little Italy, with that weirdo Japan - we will own the world. Even with the fucking sissy, that bastard, Roderich. We will. I really believed in this, because we had the chances.
On the other hand, I would be a great idiot if I'd ignored all those damn battles America, England or Russia had won.
I've never said 'I love you' to anyone. Except for myself. Because seeing such face like mine, to be so awesome, how couldn't I say 'I love you' to such a man? It'd be impossible. And I said it to Elizaveta. Once, when we were young, and I thought that admiring someone's strength (she kicked Roderich's ass!) is called love. She laughed at me (how could she!) and ran away. Later I found out that she was a girl. And girls aren't strong. Girls fall in love. I don't, so I'm better. Isn't it simple? Isn't it logical? Yet I was really furious when from a maid she turned into sissy's wife. I wasn't jealous. I just had no idea how one can choose him instead of me. Oh, but it was Elizaveta. And she wasn't sane, ever. I'm happy this way. Lonely, I mean.
I never said 'I love you' to anyone. Frederick II used to say that love is the strongest thing in the whole world, that it can give people the power yet it can break them into pieces, mercilessly. I'm sure that at this point he wasn't right. Because love sucks, and that's my awesome opinion.
I haven't fallen for anyone, ever. Then I really don't know why…
Room is half dark, empty. It's one of those desolated spaces that Ludwig promised to renovate somehow, but he forgot, or, rather he had other things to care about.
It isn't a shy whisper. It's a normal sentence. 'I love you' sounds in the air. It's 1943. Ludwig lost the Leningrad thing. Gilbert had never said 'I love you' to anyone. Until today.
They stand under the wall. Roderich looks like he's going to faint, he doesn't believe what he has just heard. Gilbert presses the other man against the wall, so all presumed ways to run away are closed. It's a dead end. Roderich's face is all red.
'Gilbert, I know you don't get what 'love' means and I'm not trying to judge you by that, but believe me, it's not the best topic for jokes, especially the one you just made…'
'Shut up, fag. I mean what I've said.' he clenches his teeth and grabs Austria's ruff angrily.
'Calm down and let me go. I've got business to do, so do you, I've...'
'No, you calm down' he interrupts 'Stop repeating in your stupid, little head 'why does he act like that, oh my God, my aristocratic head hurts so badly of all these problems' and listen instead. I will say it until you get it, fuck. I love you. I love you. I love yo…'
'I-it doesn't make sense!' shouts Austria. 'I-I…you hated me, you… You've never lost any occasion to play pranks on me!.. You've lost your mind, that's it, that's for sure why yo..mph!'
Gilbert interrupts again, this time successfully. Kiss is long and still, and Roderich has time to ease off. And so he does - after a moment, he grabs Prussia's shirt tightly and opens mouth wider. To breathe him in, to feel him in, desperately. Gilbert didn't expect such an eager reaction, not that he objects. He just smirks in the short break between the kisses and touches the other's man face. Kiss repeats, this time Gilberts hand goes lower, to the buttons of Roderich trousers. And that's the end, Roderich shakes out and pushes him away, covers his face with a hand, to hide an intense blush.
'Cut it off. I don't believe you. You know me for the longest time, we've been always fighting each other, you couldn't stand me… You just can't love me. Not you, not you of all of people. Not you.' Austria passes by him and gets out of the half-dark, unused room.
Gilbert, even if used to the loneliness, this time feels lonely as he never was. If this feeling was something material, he would have hit it with all his might, for sure. From the blind fury. But loneliness isn't material, so he just touches his forehead in a deadbeat gesture and snarls silently.
I've never said 'I love you' to anyone. But him. Fucking exception. I don't know why. I didn't believe I loved him for ages. That'd be just impossible, as he observed brilliantly. Maybe it was a way he looked these days. So tired, so sad, so confused - like Ludwig, like everyone who participated in this war. But it couldn't be pity - I know he's just pathetic, but… so what? I don't regret anyone who's pathetic like this. Especially not him.
So maybe I just started feeling really lonely. Before - I didn't notice, because I was so busy with wars and strategies so I just didn't need anyone. But when more peaceful times had come I just didn't know what I can do with my spare time. And I started to notice that I was longing for something. Like some old man, or something. Roderich lives as long as I do, so he should share my pain. He doesn't have a wife anymore and he was just a little back-up for Ludwig - just like me. So he should know what a real uselessness feels like. Because it didn't matter how proud I was, I just knew I hadn't been useful in this war. I couldn't help West when he needed it the most.
Or maybe I said it 'cause I had a feeling what was going on.
It's 1944. Spring. Roderich opens the door and without any surprise he finds a little flower at threshold. He sighs but he takes the flower to the room, to sustain its existence by the vase and water. The vase is full of same flowers, but he doesn't mind. They don't make any difference, if they're here or there. They smell nice, they look nice and Roderich likes pretty things. In his spare time he touches them carefully and talks to them. Plants just love getting such interest in them. He goes out of the room and to his pure happiness the very first person he runs into is grinning Gilbert, The Man Who Discovered Love.
'Hm? How did you like my flower? Isn't it awesome like the one who gave it to you?' he smiles, but Austria doesn't return the grimace.
'Like every one you brought me every single day, Gilbert.' he sighs. Gilbert beams a little.
'So I should understand that you enjoyed them!'
'… Of course, dear, believe what you want. Excuse me, I want my morning coffee.' Before Gilbert brings himself for the answer, kitchen door slam already.
'I love you.'
'Yes, I hear it every morning. I don't believe you.' is a cruel reply and later he hears nothing beside the twangs and bangs from the cupboard. Roderich just tightens grip on the cup when his ears reach the angry yell 'Too bad I really fucking mean it!'
It's 1944, late spring. I still give him a bunch of flowers, I tell him 'I love you' everyday. But he doesn't believe me, and I'm not sure if I want him to. I can't sleep these days. I know something's going on, I have nightmares about big, violet eyes, and half-smile. About the snow. And loneliness that doesn't make me happy at all.
In summer, 1944, he has come for me. Ludwig just squeezes my arm, he looks sorry and in pain. I won't blame him, he tried to avoid it. I know. I won't blame him, not him.
'I'm sorry, brother.' he says. I know he means it.
I don't look back when Iwan leads me to the outside. I don't want West to notice how much scared I am of the thing that waits for me out there.
In 1945 it was the end of everything. Ludwig, with Feliciano around him, recovers slowly and smiles more often. Even the allies try to help us. No one wants t h i s to happen again. We've lost a lot of things. We've gained a lot of things. Some of us have lost everything. Some of us are crying. Some are smiling widely.
Kitchen table in Germany's house was always occupied. If not by Feliciano, then there must be Roderich around, with his beloved coffee and cakes. Now he's sitting in the kitchen, looking directly at the host.
'You have to help him.' he says calmly, like it was the most logical thing in the world. Ludwig rubs his head.
'You know I can't. Don't you see I'm just… nothing at this point. If I'd try… It'll be the end. And it won't help him, it will just kill me as well as him. You know it.'
But Austria doesn't seem to know it at all. He stares emptily at the cup and the black liquid inside.
'It's the end already. How come everyone is okay except for him?... How…How could Arthur, he of all people agree on this?... He had fought with him!...By his side!.. Is he insane, for Lord's sake..'
'Politics is complicated, Roderich, especially the post-war one. There must be sacrifices.'
'Sacrifices.' Austria repeats slowly, without any comprehension. 'Sacrifices… Ludwig, Christ, he is your brother! How dare you… how can you be so stoic, even I'm worried, it's cruel, you know, to just…' but now he sees why Ludwig's sentences are so broken and short. In the corners of blue eyes tears seize control. Roderich avoids eye contact and turns away. Both of them hear that in the hall a certain Italian is making noises and is coming this way but they can't make any move. Finally, when Feliciano opens the door, Roderich leaps up, murmurs indistinct 'Auf Wiedersehen' and gets out of the house.
If the war was any longer, I'm sure they'd take even the grand piano. Any longer - they'd tear us apart, just like we'd do it, if we had the chance. Mercilessly. But it was over, for good. The end of differences. Only Iwan and Alfred were fighting, but without the army. Their war was scarier. It was 1980 and everyone just knew Iwan's power had to fade soon. Because no one's power can last for so long. Everyone under him was fighting somehow.
And in the 1989, they won. The Berlin Wall fell down, the reign of USSR faded away. Everyone was more than happy to go back to their lives. Everyone tried to rebuild their national treasures, identities.
Gilbert could finally go back to Ludwig, because he didn't have his own territory anymore. How ironic, that he, man who was fighting so restlessly for all of these centuries, had to be stripped of all the lands he ever gained. I hope he will come to himself afterwards.
You don't go to Ludwig. You know you wouldn't be able to look at Gilbert without crying over all the things that happened to him. But he will laugh at you, and maybe you need it, you need it desperately. For him to curse you, to say you that you're stupid, old geezer deprived of any sense of humor. Maybe after this you will feel better.
You missed him all those years. But you don't go there. You can't just go there and look at him, after this '44 spring when he kept on repeating you that he loved you, and you kept on rejecting him. Because he couldn't love you, could he?
Finally, one day the boss orders you to go to Germany and do some formalities. You don't really remember what you were talking about with Ludwig and how the conversation went. You just remember Prussia's face, absent-minded, in a kind of agony. You've never seen him like this. And yet you've knew him for ages, and even if the first time you met him he was crying, because Hungary defeated him, it was just a childish weeping. Now his pain was absolutely adult. You didn't speak to him, but after you are all alone in your bedroom, you can't stop the tears. You cry the whole night, and in the morning the boss is mad at you because you have no idea how the talks finished.
Few days later you have a visitor, and you know who was that before he appears at the door. Before you look at him, you can feel the sick aura of unutterable loneliness. You look at each other for a long moment, and when he closes the door you know what's going to happen. But you don't resist him anymore - you couldn't. You say nothing when he takes his shirt off and you see cuts and marks. You know everyone who lived with Russia had some. All of you have scars, but those from Iwan are worse. You touch it tenderly and kiss them without looking at Gilbert. You know he watches you with his insensible eyes, he runs his fingers through your hair. You try not to notice that he twitches uncomfortably under your touches, and that every gentle gesture makes him feel uneasy. For all these years, even if they're nothing for duration of your life, he was surely treated cruelly. All Prussians sent to hard works on the Sybir, all that hatred that waited for them in Poland or in the whole USSR even if those poor people also fought against the Nazi powers - it had to devastate him. Because Prussians weren't even a part of this war, but as the Germans, they were subjected to the same punishment as those, who had killed thousands and hundreds of thousands livings.
So you try to show him that you don't think of him as other did. That you care. Because you've always cared, how couldn't you care about him. He was almost always your ally, even if he scowled at you so much. You can't forget about it, not now, not ever. He looks at you with those painful eyes and then he pins you down to the bed. You look at him as he unbuttons your pajama and takes your boxers off. It seems that he doesn't notice you, he acts in a temporary dizziness. You know old Gilbert would never miss the occasion to make fun of you in a such situation, but you know that now it's not the old Gilbert - it's the new one, the new that has to accustom to his present state. So you let him take you like this - naked, on your bed, in the middle of the night. You whisper his name, you pant. But you hold him as tight as it's possible, you try to make h i m feel comfortable, it's him who is so vulnerable at this moment.
The rhythm is surprisingly monotonous and you think that it makes him feel more firmly. You want to cry all the time, not because of the pain, rather because of that misery that's written on this formerly so confident face. You touch it all the time, you hug him - you act like you'd never act, not under any other circumstances. But now it's an exceptional occasion - you're trying to save him, that's all. You think that you owe him this one. So you kiss him, you do the whole thing. He just feels, and slams into you without restrain, slowly, so painfully slowly. You don't mind - you owe him this, you owe him this, rumbles in your head when the pain starts to be hard to bear with as he fastens up a little, not caring about you at all. You writhe under him just to give him the satisfaction that he can do something on his own. Air is heavy of yours hard breaths - he came first, you just short after him. The few last thrusts drive you crazy - they're so desperate. Afterwards he falls on you and two of you lie down on the bed, not sure what has just happened. Finally he gets up and you vacantly reach for his hand in a quiet question to stay. He smirks and put his shirt on.
'You know I don't love you, do you?' he asks with a cold look.
'I don't believe you again.' before you close your eyes, you can see the great fury on his face caused by this negation of yours. He leans over and kisses you hardly, like the old Gilbert would.
'Shut the hell up, you're driving me crazy, fucking sissy' he hisses and kisses you again and again. 'I fucking can't stand you.'
'I know' you smile, and move back a little. This only makes him sit down on the bedding and lie down on your pillow. You look at him in an incomprehension as he taps the place by him.
'Lie here, idiot.' and so you do. He clasps you in his arms and tells you to shut up and he forbids you to tell anyone about it. You only smile and close your eyes.
How good he's finally all with you.
You really, really missed him.