Summary: Germany lies defeated and alone in the aftermath of the Battle of Berlin... but not everyone has abandoned him.
On the 2nd of May 1945 the Battle of Berlin came to an end. The city was nearly demolished. During World War Two, Germany suffered over two million civilian casualties. Six million innocent men, women and children were murdered as a direct result of Nazi policies. Nearly six million German soldiers were killed. Germany officially surrendered on May 8th 1945.
The screams were unbearable. They had been ringing in his ears for days now. The spitting of gunfire, the rumbling of tanks, the deafening bomb blasts surrounded him; but somehow all Germany could hear was the screams. Each one tearing into him and stripping away a little more until he was nothing but pain and misery and guilt and this agonising helplessness that ripped his soul into shreds.
It hurt to breathe. It hurt to move. It hurt to lie there in the rubble with fire flying overhead and the sounds of his people's screams in his ears. The smell of smoke hung heavy in the air and he coughed, once, and that hurt too. Placing his hand to his mouth he felt the blood from his lungs spill over his lips. He closed his eyes. Maybe he was approaching the end. He half hoped he was; at least then it would not hurt anymore.
Germany clenched his fingers in the debris around him; grasped onto the remains of stone and brick; felt what was left of the beautiful, strong buildings that had once lined these streets. His city lay in ruins around him. His country lay in tatters. America and Russia had conquered and destroyed him and now all of Germany was at their mercy. He gritted his teeth and tightened his hands so hard around the shards he felt them cut through his gloves and into his flesh. He was unable to stop the advance of the allies. Unable to save anyone. He was as helpless now as he had been under that maniac who had forced him into this chaos and had died finally, cowardly, in Berlin. Germany was powerless, in agony, and entirely alone. And he couldn't help but feel that he deserved it.
Germany didn't want to be here. It was never meant to end like this. But somehow he had known all along that it would. He squeezed his eyes shut, but could not fight back the tears that fell. He cried for his people. He cried for the civilians whose screams surrounded him. He cried for those who had died at his nation's hands and in its name. He cried for years of bloodshed and terror and horrors he had never imagined possible. He cried for it all.
The screams slowly became softer, and Germany dreaded what it meant. The red sky seemed to darken while the ground spun slowly beneath him. He thought of Japan, of his continuing battle in the pacific, and wondered just how long it would be until his own destruction. He thought of Prussia, wondered where he was and what he would think if he could see his stoic little brother crying on the ground. And he thought of Italy, Italy who had left, Italy who had been everything and taken everything and destroyed everything. Germany was suddenly tired, so tired he could barely think. The sensation of falling started to wash over him when he heard someone shouting, a sharp, frantic cry that cut through the dull haze enveloping his brain.
Germany's eyes flew open and he gasped, nearly choking on blood. He had been dreaming. He must have been. It could not be possible that he was here. But that cry came again, desperate and piercing and almost hysterical.
"Germany! Germany are you here? Please, please, please say you can hear me, say you're here, please Germany!"
Italy's voice cut through Germany like a knife. The pain of abandonment flooded him once again. Italy had made his choice. He had left him for the allies. He had walked out the door without a backwards glance, without a word of explanation. He had taken what remained of Germany's fractured heart and shattered it. No. Germany must be dreaming. He took a deep breath, but blood caught in his lungs and he coughed violently, doubled over as pain wracked his body. He sucked in air desperately and his vision briefly went black. When he could finally breathe, Germany opened his eyes to find Italy falling to his knees before him. Germany stared, still unbelieving.
"Oh God, Germany… oh God, Ludwig." Italy bent over him and wiped the blood from Germany's mouth with shaking hands.
"I'm dreaming," said Germany. It came out as a whisper against Italy's warm fingertips.
"No, no you're not! I'm here! Can't you feel me?" Italy grasped Germany's hand and placed it to his lips. "I'm here with you."
"Feliciano," Germany breathed in disbelief. He had never seen Italy so thin. He was clad in a dirt-streaked uniform, his auburn hair an unwashed mess. He looked exhausted. He looked terrified. He looked like the most beautiful thing Germany had ever seen. Germany swallowed thickly. "You left."
"I had to." Italy's voice cracked. "Oh Ludwig, I didn't have a choice! You… you must understand that better than anyone!" Italy's eyes glistened in the light of the nearby fires. He kissed Germany's hand and held it against his cheek.
"What are you doing here?" Germany stared up at Italy through bleary eyes.
"I had to find you. I had to know you were all right," said Italy, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
Germany tried to laugh. Nothing came out. "You crazy Italian. There are a hundred places you need to be more than here."
Italy shook his head determinedly. "No. There aren't."
Germany fought the shadows that drifted across his vision. "Everything's gone, Feliciano." He tried to clear his throat but still could not raise his voice above a whisper. "It's hopeless. I don't think I'll…"
"That's not true," interrupted Italy, tightening his grip on Germany's hand.
"Are strong. Like you. They'll make it through, too. You'll be okay, Ludwig." Italy smiled, and for a moment he looked like he used to, when he would laugh and sing and make the days brighter, back before everything went to hell. "You'll survive this. You'll be fine."
Germany wanted to believe him. "It's getting darker."
Italy gasped. "That's… that's just because you need to sleep," he said, a faint hint of suppressed hysteria in his voice. He ran his free hand over Germany's forehead and smoothed back his hair. "Go to sleep, Ludwig. I'll stay with you."
"None of it ever stops. Why do we do this?" The sky brightened suddenly in the light of another bomb strike. It was almost beautiful. Italy just stroked Germany's hair in silence. "You should go home," said Germany, even as he clung to Italy's hand and hoped desperately that he wouldn't.
"I won't leave you again. Nothing else matters now. I just want to be with the… the one I…" Italy broke off raggedly. "I need to be with you. Go to sleep."
"It doesn't hurt anymore." Darkness crept slowly over the red sky.
"That's just because you're tired. Go to sleep. I'll stay with you."
"Crazy Italian." Germany closed his eyes. He could not hear the screams anymore. But he could feel Italy's hand, warm and firm and holding tight to his, as he fell asleep in the rubble while the bombs continued to fly overhead.