M.P-chan: This is the second in a series of oneshots dealing with nation's memories of that adorable little guy, Holy Roman Empire from the POV of a nation-tan I simply adore . . . Austria! (The first one, "The Child" which focuses on Sweden, is still in progress (partly because no one will beta it) but if you like this, maybe send me a PM? *hint hint*)
Disclaimer: I do not own Axis Powers Hetalia. Do not sue me. Please.
Austria cannot remember where he came up with his human name. He supposes he thought it up one day, knew it suited him, and kept it. He can remember long before he became Roderich Edelstein, but he doesn't remember what it felt like to only be Austria. Though he does remember when Elizabeta talked him out of changing his first name to Johannes.
And while he doesn't remember when he got his name, he does remember when another nation got theirs. . .
They never should have let him name himself. However old Holy Roman Empire had been, he had still been a child. (He would latter make the same mistake with Italy. For the last time, Feliciano is NOT a first name! And if he had to take a foreign last name, why couldn't it be German? Or at least Hungarian?)
Still, the boy had been dead set on it. And Prussia took his side. "Let the kid name himself. He's gonna be the one stuck with it. Besides, it's awesome like me!"
It was surprising that he'd taken Holy Roman Empire's side. After all, he was all about knights and warriors and other such nonsense.
But the name. It was so ironic, it was laughable. It almost made him want to cry.
"Alright," he had said, "have it your way. Name yourself whatever you want."
He named himself Siegfried after the dragon-slaying knight of legend.
The NORSE dragon-slaying knight of legend. It made him want to cry.
Many years later, after Italy had moved in and before Siegfried had left, they had had a conversation.
Roderick was sitting at the desk, looking over some documents for their new boss to sign. "Siegfried, you never told me what you wanted for your last name. It's rather awkward to introduce you whenever we get a new boss."
Siegfried was staring intently out the window at Italy who was weeding the flower garden. She noticed him and freaked out. Roderich couldn't make out what she said as she ran away. The boy stopped and turned to face him before pausing for a moment, hesitating. "I won't have one."
"Why not, you'll need one, you know."
"I'm a kid. No one cares about me. Least of all our Bosses. They will only listen to you anyway, if they'll listen at all." He swung his legs back and forth while sitting up straight in his chair to make his point. His feet went just over the edge.
"You'll grow eventually. Will you take one then?"
"No, I won't ever take a last name."
"Not even your brother's?"
"You're my brother too."
Roderick raised an eyebrow. "I'm your cousin."
"But you're still my brother."
Roderick tried desperately to hide how happy that made him. He thinks he succeeded. Siegfried knows he didn't.
"All of our family has different names. I don't think it's really fair of me to choose any of theirs. And I feel like choosing my own name would alienate me from my brothers. And I won't choose between you and Gilbert. You can't make me."
Siegfried is actually ordering him. He technically has the right. Though he wishes he would take the initiative to use this kind of diplomacy with their states instead of saving it for something insignificant like a name. Or at least that's what he pretending he's thinking. In reality, he's just happy that someone actually loves him enough to not choose Prussia over him. And they both like to forget about the other brother.
In the War, it took all of Roderich's self control not to go after him. His armies went. But Roderich was not a soldier. And they needed someone to stay behind and try to keep the empire from falling apart. It was the only thing he felt he could do to help Siegfried at the time. Thirty years later, the boy did not return.
He could have killed France. He seriously could have killed him. Military weakness be damned, he'd kill him the second he got a moment alone with Francis.
Unfortunately that moment didn't come. Hungary made sure she went with him. Though in the end, he was the one holding her back. She was strong, but France still had Napoleon. When they met, France didn't say anything to either of them about the boy, but he did hand them a package. Later, when they were home they opened it to reveal a sword. It was rather short sort the kind a small child would have. On the blade, the name Balmung was clearly engraved. There is no mistaking whose it was, though the sword would have been much too short for Siegfried by the end of the War. He had grown quite a lot through the thick of it.
Roderich always believed that while he and his "brother" shared many things, music was not one of them. Siegfried showed no interest in most culture unless it was Italian.
But he discovered he was wrong in 1719 when he had the great honor of meeting a most talented musician by the name of Johann Sebastian Bach. He was further corrected in 1795 when he first heard the man who would become his favorite composer of all time: Beethoven, who had adopted Roderich's Vienna after studying under his Haydn.
In the months following his meeting with France, Austria recieved a visit from Prussia. At first he was going to tell him that Elizabeta was not home, when he noticed a very young man behind him. A young man with blond hair and deep blue eyes. "Who is this?"
Prussia rubbed the back of his head and laughed a bit nervously. "My brother. Not sure exactly what he is yet though."
Roderich was at a bit of loss for words. When he finally recovered himself he managed, "Would you like to come in and have some tea?"
Prussia slapped the boy on the back. "Ah, kid, I think he likes you! He never invites me for tea."
Roderich glared. "That's because you don't even drink tea."
"Never mind that, get us some beer!"
Roderich sighed and let them in.
Over the years, he saw Prussia and the boy often enough. In 1811, they had a particularly important meeting. The boy came and asked for a name.
"Why didn't you give him one?" Roderich accused Prussia.
"I was gonna name him Frederich, but it's too soon. I miss my Old Man too much. After all, he had some Frederichs too, though mine was best. And anyways, you complained when I got my way the last time we did this."
"The last time?" the boy asked curiously.
"Nothin' for you to worry about'" Prussia told him, patting him on the back. Roderick secretly burned with envy. Siegfried may have been his brother, but this other boy wasn't. This other boy only knew him as an acquaintance of Prussia's.
"So, I hope you have some names ready for him. And make it an awesome one. Not a dorky one like yours."
Roderich glared. "Like Gilbert is any better." Prussia waved him off.
He thought about the boy's last name. "Victorious Peace". A name like that never would have been of any use to a war-torn empire.
"Ludwig." He said with a sense of finality.
Prussia scratched his head. "'Famous Warrior,' huh? I like it! It's a good name for a strong nation.
Roderich just smiled. The name wasn't really supposed to mean anything to Prussia anyway. It was the tie between this boy and himself. The name of a great man they both shared, even as this name-less nation-to-be hardly had anything to call his own.
"Well, what about a last name?" asked Prussia, "He's going to need one."
"No I don't." said Ludwig, so quietly they almost didn't hear him. "I don't want one."
Austria stared at him in shock. Was he starting to remember? No, there was no sign of any kind of recognition in those blue eyes.
"Why not? You can always take mine."
"I don't know, but . . . I don't want one."
"Well . . . if you're sure?"
After the two had gone home, Roderich took out Balmung and stared at it for a few moments. The metal was old and dull and stained. But its name still read as clear as day. He cried.
Johannes - the first name of Mozart. Austria's greatest composer.
German or Hungarian - Italy was raised by Austria (whose language is German) and Hungary and he probably spoke German all the time at Holy Roman Empire's house. Italy's human last name is Vargas, as Spanish name that he shares with his brother who had been ruled by Spain. I assume that he took the name A) to match his brother and B) after he fought for his independence from Austria, who might hold some hard feelings over it.
Norse Hero - Siegfried is the German name/version of Sigurd a mythological Norse hero that first appeared in Sweden. Sweden and France are the two countries that practically destroyed the Holy Roman Empire in the 30 Years War.
The Other Brother - Holy Roman Empire was effectively formed when the Carolingian Empire broke in half. The eastern half became Holy Roman Empire . . . . and the western half became France. In my fic/head-canon, the two are brothers, maybe even twins. The difference is France grew, HRE didn't not. They also like to pretend the connection doesn't exist.
1806 - The year the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved.
Balmung - Siegfried's sword in the legend. Holy Roman Empire was a copycat after all.
Beethoven - Ludwig van Beethoven was born in the Holy Roman Empire and later moved to Vienna when he was 22 where he lived out most of the rest of his life. He is considered both German and Austrian, and is widely considered the greatest classical composer to ever live.
M.P-chan: Many people notified me that I had gotten Bach and Mozart's names switched. They're half right. Somewhere along the editing process, Bach's name had changed into Wolfgang Amadeus which was Mozart's name. However, I didn't confuse Mozart's name for Bach's. Bach's name was Johann, not Johannes, which was what Mozart WAS christened as (which was the name I had intended). Sorry for the confusion, the errors have been corrected.