Elizaveta's heels clacked on the cold floor of the hallway—a lonely sound. She discreetly peeked through the small panel of glass on the doors into the classroom. No—this one had no one in it. This one had a class. Where was he?
She climbed up the stairs to the second level. The hallways were empty of people; it was during her lunch time. Everyone else was either in the commons or in their scheduled classes. All but two. Herself and Gilbert.
She entered the second story of the school and sighed. Where could he possibly be? It wasn't like he made a schedule of which classroom he would hide in every day. He stopped at wherever he felt tired of wandering. One day it was in the AP Euro classroom. The next day it was in the janitor's closet.
Elizaveta tried her best to look natural, as if she was running an errand or coming back from the bathroom, not wandering aimlessly in the hallways. The occasional student outside the classroom making up a test cast curious glances at her before returning to their work. Elizaveta quickened her pace, searching for the silver-haired teenager.
She finally spotted him in an empty Latin classroom. He was sitting in a desk next to the large glass window, staring outside as if mesmerized by the colorless sky. The door was slightly ajar, so Elizaveta let herself in. He didn't even notice her presence, or at least chose not to acknowledge it.
"Hey, you," Elizaveta said, standing beside him.
Gilbert glanced at Elizaveta and grinned. "Took you a while to find me this time, huh? I'm getting better and better every day."
"Oh, yes, you're a pro at it," said Elizaveta, sitting on a chair next to his. "So what, did you just sit here the whole lunch period?"
"I was finishing up my homework, but I got a headache," Gilbert said, kicking his book bag. Elizaveta frowned worriedly.
"Again?" Elizaveta asked. Gilbert nodded and cradled his head in his arms. "It isn't good for you to just not eat altogether. Your body needs energy."
"I don't feel like eating," Gilbert mumbled.
"You haven't felt like eating for a couple of weeks," pointed out Elizaveta. "You've visited a doctor, haven't you?"
Gilbert snorted. "Those exalted angels with stethoscopes and PhDs? All they will do for me is preach the creed of hospital bills and expensive antibiotics."
"What if it's more than that?" asked Elizaveta. "I hate seeing you like this."
"Relax, it's just a phase of some sort," Gilbert assured her, rubbing his eyes. He rose from his seat and leaned against the windowsill. Elizaveta followed him, putting a hand on his thin shoulder. Gilbert absentmindedly played with Elizaveta's hair.
"So how was that Government quiz of yours?" Gilbert asked, his voice thin.
"Easy," said Elizaveta. "That class is a joke, honestly."
"I figured," Gilbert muttered. "You ate your own lunch, didn't you?"
"Reluctantly," Elizaveta admitted. "Maybe I should not eat lunch for all the days you don't eat lunch. Then you might finally swallow something down, or at least go to the doctors for help."
"Oi, that's not right," Gilbert protested. "It's not that I'm refusing to eat! I just—I don't think my stomach would welcome food too kindly. And I don't care for doctors. Who wants medical bills, anyways? Merry Christmas, here's a couple hundred thousand dollars you need to pay because you took a quick visit to the hospital."
"Be serious," Elizaveta said sternly.
"I am," said Gilbert. "I'm a big boy, Eliza. I can tough out a little cold."
"Do you really think this is just a little cold? You don't have a fever," Elizaveta argued.
"See? No fever. I'm fine." Gilbert rested his forehead on the cool glass windowpane, staring out towards the football field below. He could distinctly make out the two Vargas twins kicking a football in a frenzied game.
"You don't have to have a fever to be sick," Elizaveta pointed out.
"I'm fine," Gilbert muttered to the class. Feliciano and Lovino were now auburn smudges sliding around in the hazy green field. Were they Lovino and Feliciano? He couldn't remember what he was staring at earlier.
"How come Ludwig hasn't thrown you into the car trunk and driven you to the doctors yet?" Elizaveta asked jokingly.
"Hey now. He might be taller than me, but he can't just throw me into the car. I'm strong enough to stay planted on the ground."
"Might I remind you that Ludwig was able to throw you over his shoulder that one time when you refused to leave his room?" Elizaveta said saucily.
"I wasn't prepared. I was shocked to see all the strange magazines he kept in his closet," Gilbert defended himself. "Otherwise, West wouldn't have been able to do that."
"You keep on saying that," Elizaveta laughed. Her laughter died immediately when she caught sight of the look on his face. His face had grown a strange pale of gray and his eyes were glazed. "Gilbert?"
"Verdammt," Gilbert hissed, his voice strained. He swallowed hard before stumbling to the trash can next to the door. He fell to his knees and clutched the side of the trash can, heaving for air before vomiting.
Elizaveta hurried to Gilbert's side, dropping to her knees and rubbing his back. Gilbert groaned before retching into the trash can. He coughed and sputtered for air, his knuckles turning sallow from gripping so tightly.
"Verdammt," Gilbert repeated through clenched teeth, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. He spat into the trash can and rubbed his forehead.
"Gilbert, you need to go to the nurse's office," Elizaveta ordered. "Don't even try to protest—I will force you if I have to!"
"What good would that do?" Gilbert whispered. "She'll just send me home. I can't even go home—Dad's away again and Ludwig wouldn't be able to go home if I t-take the car."
"Please, Gilbert," Elizaveta begged, holding tight onto his shoulders. Gilbert breathed in and sighed.
"Fine," Gilbert muttered. He pushed himself away from the trash can. He tried to clamber onto his feet, but once he straightened his face grew ashen and he slumped to the ground, clutching his head and moaning.
"Gil!" Elizaveta cried. Gilbert heaved for air, his eyes unfocused and his entire body shaking uncontrollably. Gilbert squeezed his eyes shut and weakly shook his head.
"Scheisse…" he coughed before vomiting again on the floor. His fingers slid into his pale hair, digging into his scalp. He tried again to push himself off the ground, but when he lifted his head he let out a small cry before collapsing again.
"My head feels like it is c-caving in," Gilbert said in a pained voice.
"It's okay, I'm here," Elizaveta said hurriedly. "Come on—I'll help you up, okay?" She slung his arm around her shoulder and tried to pull him to his feet. Gilbert groaned and his legs gave out from under him, sending him falling to the ground.
"The room's spinning," Gilbert whispered shakily. "I'm trying to stand, b-but I feel like I'm going to—to hurl again."
"You'll be fine, trust me," Elizaveta urged. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest. Gilbert seriously needed help, but how could he if he was too weak to even lift his head on his own? "Gill—Gilbert!"
Gilbert's eyes were glossy and dazed, as if he wasn't really in this world. Elizaveta shook his shoulder but he barely responded. Her blood ran cold with dread. She needed to find help now. She kicked the door open and crawled out into the hall.
"Someone help, please!" Elizaveta cried. "Anyone! There's someone sick and he can't move!"
"Elizaveta?" Antonio's voice rang out from behind her. Elizaveta whipped her head around and nearly gasped with relief. Antonio rushed towards her. "What's wrong? Who's sick?"
"It's Gilbert," Elizaveta said rapidly, her words running together. "He's sick. He's throwing up and he can't get up without feeling ill and he—he's barely conscious—"
Antonio burst into the classroom. He spotted Gilbert curled on the ground and quickly scooped him up into his arms without a second of hesitation. Gilbert's eyes were scarcely open and his breathing labor; he was like a limp rag doll in Antonio's arms.
"What should we do about—?" Antonio gestured to the vomit on the ground and floor. "Call for a janitor."
Elizaveta sped to the telephone hanging on the wall. She speed-dialed the janitor and shivered with worry.
"Please come to room two hundred and fifty-three," Elizaveta said quickly when the janitor picked up. "A student threw up here—yes, I know. Thank you." She slammed the phone back into the receiver and hurried to Antonio's side.
"Come on! What are you waiting for?" she cried. "Let's go!"
"Right!" Antonio sputtered. He and Elizaveta hurried down the stairs as fast as they can. The bell had run, signaling the end of the period so students were filing into the hallways. Students gaped at Elizaveta and Antonio as they pushed through the crowd, carrying Gilbert. Elizaveta didn't care—every ounce of her being was wracked with worry for Gilbert.
"What happened to Gilbert?"
"What's going on?"
"Oh my God, he's passed out—"
"Excuse me! Pardon me!" Antonio cried out over the crowd, squirming his way through. "Please move! We're in a hurry!"
Gilbert was slipping in and out of consciousness. He didn't have the strength to even lift his head up. Elizaveta gulped and quickened her pace.
"Bruder!"a voice yelled. Ludwig wriggled through the crowd towards Antonio and Elizaveta. "What happened? Is he all right?"
"Come with us," Elizaveta urged, grabbing Ludwig's wrist. Ludwig's icy blue eyes were wide with horror as he followed the others to the nurse's office. They tore out of the large mass of students conglomerating in the hallways. Antonio nearly sprinted to the nurse's office, leaving Ludwig and Elizaveta to scamper after him.
Ludwig wrenched the nurse's office door open before Antonio burst in.
"Please!" Antonio cried to the nurse. "Gilbert—he's really sick and we don't know if it's a fever or a flu and he threw up a lot and Dios Mio, did he fall unconscious—?"
"Calm down!" the nurse cried. She quickly led Antonio to the empty cot by the wall. "Put him over here."
Antonio carefully laid Gilbert down on the cot. Gilbert didn't respond; a thin strip of the whites of his eyes was visible under his eyelashes. He couldn't breathe properly; his breaths were hesitant and short as if he was afraid to take in air.
"What happened?" Ludwig demanded anxiously. The nurse nodded in agreement. Elizaveta swallowed, feeling the eyes sear her skin.
"I was just talking to Gilbert and then he started to throw up," Elizaveta explained shakily. "He couldn't stand up—every time he tried he would vomit even more or his head would hurt horribly. He was in terrible shape."
Liam pressed his fingertips together and rested his forehead on forefingers. Antonio looked extremely worried, his green eyes wide and constantly darting from Gilbert to Ludwig. The nurse swiftly went to Gilbert's side and checked on him.
"I should've made him stay home," Ludwig muttered to himself, closing his eyes. "I knew he was feeling unwell and I told him he should've stayed home, but he insisted on coming…"
"It wouldn't have kept him from getting sick, though," Antonio pointed out softly. "And if he was home alone when he got really sick no one would be there to help him…"
Ludwig flinched at the thought of Gilbert left alone and sick. Elizaveta cast a worried glance at Gilbert and the nurse.
"Has he had the flu recently or anything?" Elizaveta asked Ludwig.
Ludwig shook his head. "He's been feeling awful, but he refused to get any medicine. He hates taking medicine and I can't exactly force it down his throat." He swallowed hard and bowed his head.
Before Elizaveta could even think of something comforting or reassuring to say, Gilbert groaned and stirred in his cot. As fast as lightning, Ludwig bolted from between Antonio and Elizaveta to Gilbert's side. Gilbert blearily opened his eyes and grinned at Ludwig.
"Hey there, West," he mumbled. "Is it time to go to school already?"
"We're already at school," Ludwig said, frowning.
"What?" Gilbert said blearily. "But why was I—?" His eyes widened at the memory of what happened. He groaned and rubbed his forehead. "Don't tell me I—"
"—got terribly sick in school? Ja, you did," Ludwig finished, bending down next to Gilbert's cot. "Bruder—you have got to go to the doctors'. You cannot deny that you are really sick."
"It's probably swine flu or something. I'll sleep it off," Gilbert sighed, rubbing his eyes.
"If it was really swine flu, then you would most definitely be on your way to the doctors," Elizaveta said sternly.
Gilbert bit his bottom lip and ran his hand through his white hair.
"It was probably just the stomach flu. I swallowed a fly or something," Gilbert insisted. "I don't want to go to the doctors."
"Gilbert, they can help you!" Antonio pleaded.
Gilbert snorted. "I can manage on my own, thanks. I'm not letting them near me."
"Bruder," Ludwig said firmly. "Dieses ist nicht wie Großvater."
Gilbert gave Ludwig a cold stare. "Wie würden Du wissen?"
"Vertrauen Sie mir," Ludwig said softly, Gilbert hesitated and turned his head away from Ludwig.
"Fine," Gilbert said quietly. "I'll go to the doctors."
"Thank you," Ludwig said softly.
Elizaveta let out a sigh of relief. She told herself she was glad that Gilbert was finally agreeing to go to the doctor's, but something inside her made her scared. The fact that Gilbert had to go to the doctors' in the first place made her think that this was going to be much more serious than she ever expected.
Urgh, I wish I could've thought up a better beginning, but this is as much as my brain would allow. I have typed up the other chapters and they start off a lot better than this…
At first I was a little worried about posting this because I just posted a story yesterday about Germany and Prussia and no one read it or something and I thought, "Oh…I guess no one likes my writing…(emo corner)."
"Dieses ist nicht wie Großvater" –"This is not like Grandfather" (Those who didn't read Táncol? Might not understand OTL)
"Wie würden Du wissen?" –How do you know?
"Vertrauen Sie mir" –Trust me.
I'm attempting to make this story sort of allegorical to the fall of Prussia and the Berlin Wall event. Gilbert's sickness is at the moment sort of like the Nazis taking over where Prussia used to be and replacing its leaders with Nazi leaders.
Please do not use your reviews to comment on my lack of history or your knowledge of it -.-; . I know I will leave out major or minor points of history and I have done it on purpose, so I don't need constant reminders of my choice.
Please tell me if you want me to continue or not!