Half Hour Reunion

"It would seem that the wall has fallen."

Gilbert stared rather languidly at the Russian in front of him. One pale ruby eye narrowed into a slit, the other obscured by a white bandage wrapped around his head.

The words the giant said were true. Gilbert wasn't blind enough that he couldn't see it for himself. Hell, he could feel it. Something inside him was breaking, but it wasn't painful. It was much more like somebody opening the flood gates of a dam…

"Are you going to let me go?"

"Perhaps. Technically you still belong to me though."

Gilbert shifted in his seat, the chair beneath him creaking despite his now rather light frame. His fingers were much like bones, cheeks sunken in and ribs covered in a thin sheet of satin. His eyes were tired and dim, long having lost their original vibrancy.

Ivan seemed to be looking more and more the same as time passed…

"I want to see Ludwig."

"Nyet."

Gilbert's eye seemed to flash dangerously for a moment, however the question of "why the hell not" quickly died on his lips.

Instead, he let out a much more simple, and much more safer, "why?"

Ivan responded with a just as simple, but much more annoying, "Because."

Gilbert exhaled sharply, his lungs protesting the movement as his lips pulled back into a ghost of a snarl. He leaned back in his chair, grimacing slightly when his back made contact with the hard wood.

"A call then…?"

"I could allow that." Ivan said, looking rather thoughtful for a moment.

"Will you or not? I need a fucking answer." Gilbert snapped.

"That is no way to speak to me, East." The tone was dangerous and deadly.

Gilbert stiffened, glancing warily at the mass standing less than three feet away. He couldn't afford to be beaten at this point, not when his body screamed in protest just to stand or breath. Ivan made no move to strike him, he merely stared down at him with icy violet eyes.

He tried again, "Yes or no. Can I call my brother?"

Ivan closed his eyes for a few brief moments. He let out a sigh and then reopened them. "Da." He murmured, sounding very tired. "Follow me."

Gilbert struggled to stand, his ribs and back protesting profusely. When he finally stood, he hobbled forward, walking with a quite noticeable limp to his left side. He winced every few steps, but followed Ivan as fast as he could until they were at the brute's office. Ivan moved behind the desk, opening a drawer and pulling out a small book of phone numbers. He handed it to Gilbert and motioned towards the rotary phone on the desk.

"I will give you no more than thirty minutes." He said. "That is all. Do you understand?"

Gilbert gave a stiff nod, fingers twitching slightly as his eyes were glued to the phone. Ivan stood there a few moments, a contemplative look on his childish features before he lumbered out of the room, pulling the door shut behind him. When he heard the soft 'click' of the door, Gilbert collapsed into the chair, dragging the phone closer and hastily flipping through the small phone book. He found Ludwig's number, his heart already skipping a beat just at seeing his little brother's name scribbled neatly into the contact information box. He read over the numbers, very nearly ripping the dial clear off the phone as he furiously punched in them in.

There were exactly three rings before a voice answered.

"Hallo, Ludwig gesprochen."

Gilbert's heart stopped.

How long had it been since he had heard that voice? Gilbert knew the answer, but he couldn't bring himself to think of it. He didn't want to.

"Hallo? Ist, erm, is anybody there?" The voice sounded confused.

Gilbert had to remind himself to breath. After a few moments, he finally forced himself to talk.

"…west…"

The other side of the line went quiet for a few moments, the sound of what Gilbert could only assume was a pen dropping rather loudly onto a hard top desk echoing in his ears. "Bruder…?"

Another silence wherein only the sound of their breathing could be heard. Then something in Gilbert's chest seemed to snap, and the Albino all but went to tears as he cradled to phone in his hands.

"Ludwig," his voice cracked. "Bruderlein, West. Oh Gott, Ludwig, you have no idea how much I've missed you."

Ludwig was silent a few moments as his brother continued to ramble into the phone. Gilbert could almost picture the large blonde sitting there at his desk, eyes wide and mouth open in shock. The image was just so familiar, as if he had seen it yesterday but it had been far longer than that. The Albino found himself laughing despite his body's painful protests. The sound hurt his chest, and it was rather wheezy, but it was the first time he had laughed in years.

"I…I missed you too, Bruder…" Was Ludwig's deep, but quiet, reply.

"Talk. Say somethin'. Anything, but god just talk."

"About what…?"

"Anything! The weather, your hair, hell even talkin' about Roderich would make me happy. I just want to hear your voice, West. Please."

Ludwig cleared his throat, "Bruder, I…how are you…?"

"I'm the best I've been in forty fuckin' years." Was Gilbert's wheezy reply.

"Are you hurt?" Ludwig asked.

"More than you could imagine." Gilbert said, not at all bothered by the way Ludwig seemed to begin seething on the other end of the line.

"What did he do to you, Bruder?"

"I don't want to talk about me, West."

"But-"

"I'm still alive and breathin', West. That's all that matters. Just talk. Anything, just talk." He didn't want to mention how his ribs were aching, or how his throat felt as if it were on fire.

Ludwig was silent a few moments. "How long do we have?"

Gilbert paused to look at the small clock on the wall, "Twenty-four minutes."

"Ah…well…" Ludwig shifted the phone slightly. "The wall fell." He said. "Just yesterday, actually, although you probably already know…They're still taking it down."

"Hmm…"

"Practically the whole city has a hangover too…"

"And you?"

Gilbert could imagine a wry smile pulling at his brothers lips. "I guess you could say I'm better connected to the people than I thought."

Another wheezy laugh. "And specs?"

"He's doing well, although I suppose that's not something you want to hear."

"Not particularly. What about brows?"

"Doing well also. His boss isn't too keen* on what the other nations of planned though."

"And what's that?"

"Unify Germany."

There was an odd stillness in the air after the words were spoken. They seemed to buzz through Gilbert's head, making the pain throughout his body even worse.

"Unify…" He murmured, running his finger over the oaken desk in front of him.

"Yes…" Was Ludwig's quiet reply.

"I suppose she's not against it because she doesn't want to see my awesome self kick the buck-"

"Don't." Ludwig's voice was barely audible. "It…It might not even happen."

"We don't know that."

"I don't want to talk about this, Bruder…"

"I haven't heard much music while I've been here." A change of subject for mercy's sake. "Anything good?"

Ludwig took the opportunity gladly. He gave a small noise of confirmation. "There's several bands you might like. Die Toten Hosen seems to be gaining some popularity."

"They really named a band that?"

"Ja. And if you're interested in any British bands, the Beatles seem to have been quite popular."

"Mm. Books then?"

"Not that I can think of."

"Movies?"

"Have you ever seen 'Dinner for One'*?"

"Sounds familiar. That was British too, wasn't it? About the crabby old bitch and her drunk butler?"

"The same. It's a bit of a tradition to play it on new year's here."

"You're kidding…?"

"Ever since the seventies."

"Wow…"

"What else…" Ludwig sighed heavily, the methodic sound of a pencil being tapped on a desk filling the receiver. "Feliciano and I are-"

"Fucking?" Gilbert cut in. "It's about damn time!"

There was a sputtering on the other side of the line, the pencil clattering against the desk noisily. "Bruder, you know I'm not like that!" Ludwig snapped.

"Could have fooled me." Gilbert said between chuckles.

"We're still friends is what I was going to say. Same with Kiku." There was a loud sigh and the tapping resumed. "Francis isn't much of a help to me. More of a nuisance than anything."

"Can't handle the taste of defeat?"

"Something of the sort. Arthur and Alfred have helped a lot though." There was a brief pause and the tapping suddenly stopped. "…I want to see you, Bruder…"

"Not that I'm much to look at," Gilbert said wryly, a smirk playing at his chapped lips. "'Dead Man'. Guess that mustachioed bastard was right. I'm like a fuckin' skeleton now." And not just in looks…

"Bruder,"

"Ja, ja. He's dead now, he's one to talk." Gilbert sighed. "Popped a pill and shot himself, wasn't it?"

"…yes…"

"What a way to go."

There was another silence and Gilbert glanced at the clock on the wall. Six minutes left.

"I hear there's a town called 'King in Prussia' somewhere in America."

"No kiddin'."

"And another place called 'New Prussia' further north. I forgot the name of the country though."

"North of burger brains?"

"Ja."

"Should be Canada if my memory serves correct. Use to be Francis' kid but Arthur got 'im in the war of Austrian Succession."

"Canada…?"

"Kicked your ass at Vimy Ridge, West."

"Really…"

Three minutes…

"West…?"

"Yes, Gilbert?"

Gilbert lifted a bony hand to his neck, grasping for an iron cross that hadn't been there in years. Instead they pulled at the collar of his shirt as he watched the seconds tick by.

"…Ich liebe dich, Bruderlein…"

There was a sharp exhale from the other side of the line. Another noise followed soon after, but Gilbert couldn't quite figure out what it was. Something of a strangled…sob?

"B-Bruder…"

The door to the office opened. Ivan stood, hand poised over the door knob and face expressionless as he stared at Gilbert. "Your time is up, da?" He said quietly. Gilbert gave a bit of a nod, staring at the desk as he listened to his brother cry.

"Aufwiedersehen*, Westen…" Gilbert murmured into the receiver, a bit of a smile playing at his lips at his parting words. He hesitantly began to hang up, hearing the last remnants of Ludwig's voice crackle over the phone before it was set down with a deafening click.

-.-

Feliciano walked into Ludwig's study to find the man hunched over his desk, head in hands and the phone dangling loosely from it's chord. The Italian boy stood there a few moments, watching the blonde warily before hesitantly walking forward.

"Ve~ Are you okay?"

Ludwig jumped slightly, head shooting off the desk and eyes wide. His face was wet, and eyes red, but Feli didn't seem to notice.

"Is it that overhang you talked about earlier?"

"N-Nein, Feli. And it's called a hangover…"

"Then what's wrong? Germany looks sad, you should be happy."

"I am, Italien." Ludwig said, pressing the heels of his palms against his eyes. "I just…just got off the phone…"

"Ve~! Who were you talking to? Was it the pasta fairy*? Is he going to bring us pizza again!"

"No, it was…it was my Bruder."

"You mean Gilbert?"

A nod.

"Eh! Why didn't you tell me! I want to talk to Gilbert too!" Feliciano flailed, running over to Ludwig and pulling at his arm despite the larger man's gruff protests of "Italien, calm down!". "What did he say? Is he eating lots of pasta? Is the pasta in Russia good? What if it's frozen though, or they use some strange sauce or, or-!"

"Feli, he's…he's fine." I hope. "And I'm sure the pasta there is delicious."

"Vee~ What a relief!" Feliciano released his grip on the German's arm, resting his head on the man's shoulder. Ludwig frowned, but lifted a hand to pat the brunette anyways, smiling ever so slightly.

"When is Gilbert coming back?" The Italian asked, tilting his head a bit to see the smile on Ludwig's face falter.

"…Ich weiße nicht…"

-xXxXx-

Note 1: Margaret Thatcher -"We beat the Germans twice, and now they're back."
It's not exactly unknown that the "Iron Lady" was against German Unification. Although the idea of Unification wasn't exactly brought up until a month or so after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was probably discussed among the Nations-people, and furthermore, with their bosses. Upon Arthur's mentioning of it, my head!canon says that Ms. Thatcher would probably give a rather grueling lecture of how the German beasts feed off of power and how if they let the unification happen, it's likely they'll try to take over Europe again. Needless to say, Gilbert isn't too fond of the woman. The feeling is rather mutual.

Note 2: "Dinner for One" ( also known as "The 90th Birthday ) is a rather comical Black and White film originally made in the 1920s. The Norddeutcher Rundfunk (North German Broadcasting) recorded a taping of the show ( in English ) in 1963 and broadcasted it out to the German populous. Since then, it's become a bit of a Cult Classic and is broadcasted on several different TV stations all across Germany, Austria, Denmark, even some of the Baltics. (: If your interested, I'm sure you can find it on YouTube somewhere. It's quite funny.

Note 3:
"Aufwiedersehen" – German for "Goodbye." HOWEVER, looking at the individual words that make up the word ( "wieder" which is "Again" and "sehen" which is "To see" ) it would translate to "See you again" aswell. I thought it would be quite comical to throw this in. Gilbert is arbitrarily implying that he will see his little brother soon, even though neither of them are sure if it's even going to happen.( It does, of course, if the April Fools Blog of 2009 is anything to go by. )

Note 4: Italy is talking about the Pizza Delivery guy in case you couldn't tell. |D Thought I'd throw it in for the lulz.

BONUS NOTE: As you noticed, Gilbert doesn't meet up with Germany when the wall falls. In my head!canon, Gilbert is still in Moscow with Ivan when this happens. Gilbert won't get to see his Bruderlein until a year later or two later, when East and West unify.

Reviews are greatly appreciated and loved~