Chapter Thirty: The End of Innocence

March 1888

Prussia couldn't understand it. It was that simple. After all the work he'd done over the years, after all he'd fought and bled for, there were still those ungrateful in the world that tried to ruin the perfect empire that that albino had striven to create, namely those Social Democrats, or that's what Bismarck had told him. Even with their ban several years back, the Prussian still wondered if there were some still around causing trouble for him. It didn't help that the Kaiser had been quite ill lately either.

Looking up from the alliance agreements between them and Russia, Gilbert saw his brother looking over the welfare policies that Bismarck had given him to review. The younger man's face was set in stone; a severe expression of concentration adorned his features, a look that still had the elder brother cringing on the inside every time he saw it. West had certainly grown up.

Yes, West had grown up, and that was simply the way of things. Prussia couldn't have been prouder of his little brother if he tried, and he did try. Germany was just about as perfect a nation as anyone could be. His brother was strong, fierce, protective, intelligent, and overall just the best, most awesome thing ever! …Well, besides Prussia that is, but a close second was truly impressive. Together they were creating something here, something that everyone in the future would one day look to and recognize as special, better than all the rest. It wasn't misplaced pride, it was fact. German might and influence was just too overwhelming now to ignore. They were the best in the world, a true light to everyone else, and Gilbert couldn't have been more pleased with his station in life. Gone were the tormented, lonely days of barely scrapping by to survive, the arguing with all the other German personifications. It was just him and West now, as it always should have been. He couldn't help but wonder if their father was proud of them yet…

Germania had to be, Gilbert decided. After over sixty years of struggle to unity, and even seventeen years into their joint empire, the German Empire was thriving. The German economy was booming, their technology was topnotch, and they had the best military in the world. Their people were well and happy, especially with all of these welfare policies that Bismarck was implementing. Yes, everything was going their way. Everything…but Gilbert found himself unhappy.

Peaking over at his brother's face again, the albino frowned, his heart weighing heavily. He was unhappy because his brother was unhappy. For years now West had been unhappy. He thought the blonde would get better once a few years together had smoothed over and they could settle into a peaceful sort of rhythm with each other, but that never happened. Even seventeen years into their partnership, the younger German still didn't seem happy. It was like…it was like Ludwig desperately wanted to be happy, but couldn't, and was trying to hide his sorrow. It didn't make any sense to Gilbert, though it made perfect sense to Prussia.

Germany was unhappy with the distribution of power. That was the only thing that could cause the blonde to behave this way. Bismarck would send West out into the Empire and meet with the other rulers and each time he returned, he seemed gloomier and gloomier. The assassination attempts on the Kaiser's life ten years ago hadn't helped much either. Ever since then, his brother had seemed on edge around the Kaiser, was always watching warily as non-Prussians or non-northerners got near the human. It was sad actually, Ludwig didn't seem comfortable in the north nor the south, neither the east nor the west. It was almost as though he didn't even belong in his own Empire.

But the Chancellor still would not hear of having the blonde leave the Empire. Official foreign policy was handled by Prussia. And what a time he had of it too! Balancing alliances between both Russia and Austria was getting rather exhausting, especially since the other two empires had had their falling out. It left the Germans in the middle, a place Prussia didn't like much at all, but it seemed Bismarck was able to handle…with some work, that is.

But as time went on, Gilbert began to suspect that maybe it would do his brother good to get out of their territory once and a while. Even though he hated the idea of it, the albino was almost desperately considering having some sort of dinner party with Austria, if just to get his brother some other national company. Perhaps he could create some sort of occasion in which to show off to his former rivals— maybe have him look at all of his awesome troops again— but still get West the change of scenery he needed? It might be worth it. Besides, he didn't want his little brother mad at him or resenting him too much.

Without having a plan of any sort, the albino slammed down the document he was reading, causing the younger man to jump, icy eyes snapping up from their own reading. "Let's do something!" the elder German exclaimed, standing.

Ludwig frowned, eyeing his brother not unlike if he'd suddenly turned into a giant beetle. "What?"

"Let's do something, West!" Gilbert said again, already running around the table to grab his brother's arm, tugging the bigger man up.

"W-what are you doing?" the blonde cried, his face turning red with agitation. It was so funny that even as an adult his little brother still couldn't hide a blush. It was cute, and reminded the albino that this giant lug was still his same, sweet baby brother.

"We're going out!" Gilbert dragged his brother towards the door. "We've been indoors too long."

"I meant what are we going to do outside?" Ludwig snapped. "We still have work to do!"

The albino rolled his eyes. "We always have work to do. You can't just do work all the time. Sometimes you have to get out, see the world, have some entertainment."

Despite his sputtering protests of wanting to stay and finish, the demands of his brother to let him go, Ludwig did not really resist, causing the older German to smirk. Even a workaholic like West wanted distraction sometimes in their life. The boy had been working too hard lately with everything else going on in the Empire, and it'd been a while since the two brothers had really done anything other than work together. They hadn't even gone out drinking in some time, a tragedy that Gilbert desperately wanted to remedy. Ever since being properly introduced to beer some years back, West had taken to it like duck to water. The albino chuckled to himself as he remembered the pure look of wonder and awe the blonde had worn the moment his lips had been set to a glass of Bitburger, there was no going back. Beer was now the drink of choice, as it should be.

Instead of going to the gardens, or even on the palace grounds, Gilbert ran with his brother's hand still in his, through the halls, across the grounds, until they were outside on the street. Blackie had apparently spotted his master and had raced after the two brothers, intent on making sure his master was safe while with the albino. Even though Gilbert couldn't prove it, he had the sneaking suspicion that the dog didn't trust him with Ludwig. Which was absurd since if it hadn't been for him that stupid mutt wouldn't even be West's pet in the first place!

But he didn't let the thought bother him at the moment. Right now, he was making a mad dash in the streets of Berlin with a giant blonde and a dog in tow while dressed in their best uniforms. They were probably a pretty strange sight, and Prussia couldn't help but laugh. Oh how confused all the humans must be! He didn't care at all, and was intent on finding something that would distract him and his brother.

He was racing towards one of his favorite taverns when suddenly Ludwig stopped. Cold. The abrupt halt caused the elder German to gall backwards, hitting hard against his brother, who remained standing. Gilbert likened the experience to colliding with a rock.

"Scheiβe! What the hell, West?" he growled, wondering how on earth his brother had been able to survive the impact of a Prussian slamming into him. Stupid boy, he thought, grudgingly impressed at his brother's strength.

Ludwig didn't say anything, but kept looking back, his face hard until he whistled a sharp, clear note that sliced through the air. Almost immediately, Blackie immerged from the crowd, panting as he trotted up to his master. The blonde knelt down and patted his pet on the head, a soft smile coming to his lips. "Es tut mir leid," he said gently. "We didn't mean to leave you behind."

It was almost comical how tender the blonde was with his pet seeing as he was anything but tender with anything else, but it also made Gilbert smile. His little brother might have adopted a severe appearance, acted like a dispassionate brute, but he truly was still that little boy he'd saved out in the woods. There was still a gentleness to his brother that strangely comforted the albino, especially since he hadn't seen much of it lately.

Gilbird hopped down from his head at that moment, apparently having woken from the impact with the German, and Gilbert petted the tiny creature mindlessly as he watched his brother scratch under his dog's chin and behind the ears. The dog panted happily as it seemed to smile up at the big man. Ludwig returned the smile, before standing upright, staring at his brother expectantly.

"Right," Gilbert stood a little straighter, looking around. "Something to do…"

"You really didn't have an idea?" the younger man frowned, looking exasperated though there was fondness in it.

"I just said I wanted to get out, not that I knew what we could do," Gilbert shrugged, looking around until his eyes caught sight of a pretty woman standing by a produce cart. "You know," he smirked. "Maybe I'm hungry."

Ludwig followed his brother's eyes and blushed, turning away. "You don't even know her," he muttered.

"Yeah, but I'm about to," he grinned, elbowing the younger man. "Watch and learn, Westen, watch and learn."

Once more, the blonde was reduced to a sputtering ball of nerves as Gilbert sauntered over to the cart where a pretty young woman with brown locks braided under her silk scarf was standing trying to sell her produce. As he approached, she turned big blue eyes up to him. They widened for a moment, as everyone's did when they took in his lack of pigmentation, before she smiled ever so slightly at him. "Guten Tag, mein Herr," she greeted. "Can I help you with anything?"

Casually, Gilbert looked over the produce, noticing vegetables along with some fruit, and pretended to make a thorough investigation over a head of cabbage he picked up. "Yes, actually," he continued to ignore her questioning gaze. "I was wondering if you might tell me your name."

He looked up and smiled charmingly at her, enjoying her surprised look. "O-oh," she blushed prettily. "I…um…I'm not sure why you'd want to know," she giggled uneasily, though Gilbert could tell she was pleased with his attentions.

"Why wouldn't I want to know the name of the pretties girl in town?" he leaned over, smiling down at her, hoping her eyes caught on all of his metals…though she'd have to be blind not to.

Again, the girl giggled, her face nearly completely scarlet, reminding the albino of his brother, before she found the courage to meet the albino's eyes again. "I don't know," she admitted. "Though I'm certainly not the prettiest girl in town."

"Nonsense!" Gilbert leaned his elbow on the cart, catching the accent that came from just outside of Berlin. "Come now, what's your name?"

From his peripheral vision, the elder German saw his brother was bright red, and looked like he was going to explode from embarrassment. It made flirting with the girl just that much more fun. After a moment of indecision, the girl finally answered, still a pretty shade of pink. "My name is Elsie."

"Elsie!" Gilbert cried, smiling widely, hoping he was still being charming and didn't end up scaring her. His smiles sometimes sent people into fits of outrageous fear. He never really understood that… "What a lovely name!"

She flushed again, before looking up with those dark blues of hers. "A-and who might you be, Sir?" she asked coyly.

Puffing out his chest a bit, unable to help the pride he felt, as his nation was full of nationalists that never ceased to fill his head with flattery and praise, Gilbert stood up straight, bowing to the girl, delighted to hear her pleased giggles. "Forgive me, my lady. I am the Kingdom of Prussia, at your service."

All pleasure visibly drained from the girl's face as did her color. "P-Preuβen? H-Herr Preuβen?"

Gilbert smirked. "Is there any other?"

That didn't seem to help the girl's anxiety, and she began twisting her apron fitfully, apparently more afraid of who and what he was rather than his personality. He should have expected this, most women acted this way, so he wasn't really put out, but at the same time, he was tired of this reaction, and he watched almost sadly as she curtseyed to him, bowing her head. "F-forgive me, my lord, I-I didn't know…I mean how could I…D-did you want something?" she gestured to the produce. "Please, t-take anything you'd like, mein Herr, i-it's all free." She held out the head of cabbage he'd been looking at.

Determined not to let this conquest go, Gilbert continued his steady smile, he pushed her hands down, watching as she shuddered at the contact, not disgusted, but seemingly surprised and disgusted with herself. Poor girl. "Thank you for the offer, but I think I'll decline," he smirked. "So where do you come from?"

"Moabit," she answered truthfully, all flirtation gone from her as she spoke with honest respect for her nation. It both pleased and frustrated Gilbert.

"Ah, yes. I can hear that now," he nodded. "I helped come up with the idea of Moabit, you know."

"I'm sure, mein Herr," she nodded readily. "It's a great place to live, too!"

Gilbert realized he probably wasn't going to get anywhere with her now that she was like this. It was certainly appropriate for a human to revere and adore their nation, but it was dreadfully bothersome when wanting to make stronger connections. She no longer seemed interested in his attentions as a man, just as a nation, and he thought that perhaps it was for the best. He was just thinking of retreat, when something behind him moved.

Suddenly, West was beside him, the blonde having gotten over his morbid embarrassment to find his courage to walk over. Elsie eyed him, and paled once more, probably coming to the correct assumption that this was Prussia's brother. But before the girl could speak, or stutter around, Ludwig was already pointing to something. "Is that your dog?" he asked, eyes down on the ground to stare near the girl's feet.

Elise blinked a moment, before looking down to where a rather fat Doberman was lying, tied near the cart. Why hadn't Gilbert noticed it before? It was probably there to help protect the girl. "Oh! Y-yes, she's mine."

Ludwig was keeping Blackie from getting too interested in the other dog, but he seemed quite fascinated in the other animal himself. "What's her name?" he asked.

"We just call her Traute," Elsie smiled down at the dog, who was eyeing Blackie warily. "And yours?" she asked. "I've never seen a dog quite like him before…it is a him?"

"Yes," Ludwig nodded, looking a little less severe than normal, probably because he was actually enjoying the conversation. "Mein Bruder got him for me years ago. He's just a mutt," he shrugged. "He looks like a shepherd dog though."

"I think so too," the girl smiled.

"I call him Blackie."

"That's a good name," Elsie agreed. "He seems like a good guard dog."

"He is for the most part," Ludwig agreed, smiling down at his pet. "Though I'm afraid he gets spoiled by the servants sometimes."

Elise laughed. Gilbert was shocked. He'd been hoping to get the girl to loosen up with casual conversation, yet somehow Ludwig had gotten the girl to laugh while mentioning the fact that he lived in the palace! Unbelievable!

"Is she pregnant?" Ludwig asked, squatting down beside the female dog, holding out his hand so that she could sniff it, yet not close enough so that he'd get bitten.

"Yes, actually," the girl nodded, squatting down also. "How did you know?"

Ludwig shrugged. "She just sort of…looks like it, a little bit. How long before she has puppies?"

"We think around another six weeks or so," Elise stroked her dog's long pointed ear, looking at the large man across from her thoughtfully. "Would you like a puppy, Herr Deutschland?"

The blonde looked up, surprised, his icy eyes taking on an excited sort of light, one that was often muted when he was around the palace or working. It made the older German want to groan. "May I?"

Elise smiled broadly. "Of course!" she nodded enthusiastically. "I was getting worried about what we would do with the little ones once they were born. I'm glad to know that at least one will go to a good home."

For his part, the younger blonde smiled back, just a little, tiny smile, the first one he offered since talking to the girl, as he offered her a hand up. "Yes, I would like one very much, if I may. I think it would be good for Blackie to have a companion."

Gilbert snorted, not liking being ignored. At all. "Does that mean I can get Gilbird a friend?"

The other two didn't listen to him. Or hadn't heard him. Neither was acceptable. "Of course, of course!" Elsie nodded again, blushing slightly as she released Ludwig's hand. "Though it would take several weeks after it's born before I could give it to you."

"Certainly," Ludwig nodded. "I wouldn't want to take it away from its mother too soon."

"Would you like a male or female?"


"Male!" Gilbert interjected, finally gaining his brother and the girl's attention. "I'm not having a million little fluffy things running all around."

Ludwig threw an apologetic look Elsie's way mixed with exasperation. "A male, I suppose would be best."

Elise smiled sheepishly, giggling a bit. "Very well. I sell produce here every weekend, perhaps in …about twelve weeks?"

The Empire nodded as happily as he would allowed himself to show. "That would be fine," he nodded. "I look forward to seeing you again, Fraulein Elise, was it?"

The girl blushed, smiling happily, causing Gilbert to stiffen in indignation. "J-ja. And…please don't feel like you have to wait until then. Perhaps you'd like to come see how Traute is doing?"

Prussia was floored. His baby brother, his sweet, innocent baby brother had just had a girl come on to him, flirt with him, without even having to try! Gilbert wasn't sure if he should be proud or jealous. Usually women liked his advances, but apparently they liked talking about dogs too…or was it strong blonde men? Either way, his baby brother had the strong possibility of getting his first taste of love if he wasn't careful, and Gilbert wasn't sure how he felt about that.

Ever oblivious, however, Ludwig nodded readily. "I would like that. Do you mind if I bring Blackie with me? Perhaps I could help him get his exercise by talking him out this way."

"Of course," Elise smiled, more confidently this time.

"Very well," Ludwig nodded firmly. "Then I will see you again sometime."

"Goodbye, Herr Deutschland," she waved, beaming. "Oh! Herr Preuβen," she turned back to Gilbert, her features more reverent when she faced him. "It was an honor to meet you, mein Herr."

Frustrated, Gilbert forced a smile, and nodded, saying a quick farewell, before he and his brother were once again walking, Blackie trotting along beside his master happily. When they were far enough away, Ludwig glanced his brother's way, without actually turning his head, a slight frown marring his features. "Please don't ever do that in front of me again," he scolded. "That poor girl was just trying to sell produce."

The albino stared at the taller man incredulously. "Whatever. Without me you wouldn't have gotten a puppy."

Surprisingly, Ludwig turned and grinned at his brother, a toothy, cheeky grin. "I really wanted a puppy, Bruder."

Seeing such an expression of carefree recklessness caused the albino to start laughing. Maybe they were brothers after all! It was always so hard to tell when they acted so differently. "Why didn't you tell me, Bruderlein? Bruder would've gotten you one."

The younger man shook his head, still smiling amusedly. "That's all right. I didn't want to inconvenience you."

It was said lightheartedly, but it caused Gilbert to freeze for a moment. Inconvenience? Surely West didn't really think he was some sort of inconvenience, did he? But before he could say anything, suddenly, Ludwig stopped walking yet again, his blue eyes wide as he stared at…something.

Before Gilbert could ask, Ludwig was walking briskly over to a strange sort of carriage, where there was a rich looking gentleman standing next to it. A crowd had gathered near it, though the people only stopped a moment before moving on. It was such a strange looking device, and the albino wondered about it, not quite trusting it. He thought he'd heard about something like this, but he couldn't quite remember when or where.

Ludwig surprisingly marched right up to the gentleman and nodded his head respectfully. "Excuse me, is this a Motorwagen?" he asked, there was a certain degree of awe in his eyes, that the Prussian was sure he was the only one to truly take notice.

"Why, yes it is," the gentleman nodded. "And you are?"

"Herr Deutschland," Germany nodded again, though his eyes went right back to the bizarre device, not noticing how the human gasped in surprise. "I'm sorry, but my I look it over?" the young Empire asked, blue eyes riveted on the device.

Prussia came up beside his brother, and the human seemed to recognize Prussia and bowed deeply to him. "Certainly, mein Herr!" the man offered. "You may sit inside it too, if you'd like."

Not even the promise of beer could have made Ludwig's eyes light up like that, and though it was obvious he was restraining himself, the blonde nearly jumped in the second the offer was given, and sat behind the wheel, eyeing all of the controls and levers.

"Impressive," he nodded, his lips just slightly upturned. "How does it work?"

"If you'll allow me?"

Without further ado, the man showed them everything. He showed them how to control the strange wagon first, what the levers did, before pointing out the mechanics of the engine. West, it seemed, had a knack for the mechanical. He always had really, and he picked up on what the human was telling him faster than Gilbert, already talking the human into ideas for possible improvements that could be tested later. Gilbert, too, voiced several of his own opinions, but it seemed West was truly having fun talking to Herr Benz, much more than talking to Elsie. The albino suspected it was because the blonde had been more interest in the dogs than the girl. He decided to just let the blonde be to have his fun.

At last, an offer came, one that Gilbert knew would not be refused, when the human asked happily, "Would you like to drive it?" It didn't take a genius to see how badly West wanted to, especially when those blue eyes light up like a bonfire.

Without a moment's pause, Ludwig jumped in and was at the wheel. Herr Benz and Gilbert just barely got in, Blackie having hoped in along with Germany, before the vehicle was away. The machine roared to life, and took off much faster than the albino would have thought possible…apparently Benz was having the same ideas, as he held on to his hat. The strange wagon took off, startling people as Ludwig weaved in and out of the crowd.

Rationally, Gilbert knew that this machine was not going any faster than a horse could go, but at the same time, it felt strange, and he felt his heart racing as his little brother recklessly steered the Motorwagen all about. "H-Herr Deutschland?!" Benz cried.

"West! Slow down!" Gilbert yelled, not sure he liked this new invention.

To the pleas, all the passengers received was a wild smile from Germany. It was terrifying. And instead of slowing down, West seemed to go faster, laughing as he went. In the back, Gilbert hugged onto Blackie, who also didn't seem to appreciate his master's behavior at the moment. But even the dog's whining didn't stop the big German from slowing down to a more steady speed.

Finally the vehicle stopped outside of the palace before Ludwig slowed to a stop and jumped out, smiling as he looked the Motorwagen over again,. Benz looked freaked out for a moment, before smiling as well, laughing out his anxiety. "Well now!" he exclaimed. "I hadn't taken her so fast before! Splendid!"

"Indeed!" Ludwig agreed readily, Blackie jumping out of the machine quickly, looking a bit ill, but obediently walking to his master's leg. Ludwig bent over and patted the dog's head. "It's such a marvelous machine."

Benz took on a thoughtful expression. "You know, I'm making these to sell now," he began conversationally. "If the palace would want one…"

"Yes!" the blonde smiled quickly. "I mean, I would have to see what the Kaiser and perhaps Herr Bismarck would have to say, but I am interested certainly."

"You want one of these…things?" Gilbert snorted.

Ludwig turned serious eyes upon his brother. "Yes."

"But what about, Adler? He'd be disappointed if you ignored him in favor of this thing," the albino frowned.

Ludwig paused, looking thoughtful as he contemplated the feelings of his horse. The big man had such a soft spot for animals, he hoped that it would deter the man from wanting such a strange device. He certainly didn't want to get in one of those things again until he was sure it was safe!

"I'm sure he'd be happy for the rest every once and a while," Ludwig answered at last, before turning to Benz. "I'd like to be in touch."

"Of course," the gentleman nodded before shaking hands.

As Benz left, the two brothers watched as the Motorwagen drove off, the guards all staring at it as it went off, mesmerized by the vehicle. Ludwig watched, scratching his dog's ears. Gilbert turned to look at his serious little brother, frowning. Their outing hadn't gone like he'd thought it would, and he was just beginning to wonder if it had been worth leaving the office, when Ludwig turned to look at him, a large grin spread across his face. "Thank you for today, Bruder," he said sincerely. "It was very enjoyable."

Smiling back, the albino clasped his brother's shoulder, shaking him a bit in a fond gesture. "You're welcome, West. All praise is acceptable to the Awesome Prussia."

The blonde was just rolling his eyes when one of the guards rushed forward, face drawn in anxiousness. "Sirs," he said uneasily. "Come quickly… Kaiser Wilhelm is…unwell."

The two brothers looked over at each other before taking off into the palace.


15 June 1888

It was chaos, all bloody chaos. Ludwig stood staring at the body of the dead Kaiser, not knowing what to do. It just didn't seem fair that this was happening again, happening so soon after the first time. The young nation watched as the doctors closed the Kaiser's eyes, proclaiming him dead officially. He glanced at the side to see his brother's face was grim.

"I cannot die…What would happen to Germany?" the Kaiser had said a month ago, but it seems despite his struggle, he had lost. Next to the bed, his wife, Victoria, wept quietly.

"Kaiser Friedrich III is dead," Bismarck declared quietly. "Long live Kaiser Wilhelm II."

Ludwig turned his attention to the young man standing next to the bed, tears in his eyes. For a moment, the blonde wondered what indeed would become of him now that this man was in charge rather than Friedrich. What would happen to him? He had a bad feeling about this.

The doctors left, leaving only the royal family, Bismarck, and the two nations alone. The former empress looked up, and threw herself into Prussia's arms first, hugging him tightly, before turning to the blonde and squeezing him as well. It made Ludwig extremely uneasy having to provide comfort to the distressed woman, but after only a moment, she let go before turning to her son, who kept staring at his father's body. Bismarck gave the two personifications a look and they knew what he meant. They turned and left.

The two disheartened nations walked out of the family chamber, and went down the hall silently. Neither felt much like talking. They had just lost another leader. After only ninety-nine days after his father, Kaiser Friedrich III had died. It had been stressful enough when Wilhelm had gone, and now with Friedrich…to be honest, Ludwig wasn't sure that the young Wilhelm could handle the pressures of ruling.

They exited the palace together and went to sit on the front steps of the palace. It was an unspoken agreement, neither having to say anything, but they both wanted to be somewhere where no one would think to look for them. The guards never ratted them out, and were usually silent, but good company. Sometimes it was good to be around people, but not having to speak. It was companionable, but not annoying.

Staring at his feet, Ludwig's view was suddenly filled with the muzzle of a brown fur, and concerned brown eyes. The young man smiled, patting his dog's head, appreciating the offered comfort, especially since he hadn't asked for it. That's why he liked animals. They knew when you needed them, and didn't pity you. Just loved you. That's why dogs were his preferred companions.

"Hey, West," Gilbert's voice was neutral, and when he turned to look at the albino, he was looking away, stroking Gilbird. "We haven't been on a walk for a while…wanna go see Elsie?"

Ludwig frowned thoughtfully, before nodding. "Ja…let's go."

As the two brother wandered through the streets, they didn't say anything, just walked. Blackie went in between the two of them, extending his concern to include the albino, obviously believing that perhaps just this once, the ender brother might want a lick or two. For once, Gilbert didn't try to pretend that he didn't like the attention. Instead, he'd just pat the dog, before sending him closer to Ludwig. The blonde couldn't help the small smile that came to his face.

When they reached Elsie's booth, the girl was there, her eyes lighting up once she saw them coming. "Hallo!" she called out merrily. She didn't know that just moment ago, her Emperor had died.

Gilbert, though was able to rally his spirits and smile at the girl. "Guten Tag, Fraulein. How are you?"

"Very good," she beamed. "I've got someone who's anxious to meet you, Herr Deutschland," she smiled at Ludwig.

The blonde suddenly remembered his agreement with the girl. He'd forgotten over the last several weeks when the Kaiser had fallen so ill. He looked over at his brother, and saw a knowing smirk on his lips. That's why he'd wanted to go on a walk now. Gilbert really was the best brother in the world.

Lengthening his strides, Ludwig was next to the girl in the next minute. "Did you…did you bring him?"

Elsie smiled. "I sure did," she nodded, bending over to pick up a small black bundle of fur. There, looking annoyed, was a fat Doberman puppy, staring up at Germany as if the human was the source of his discomfort. It only served to amuse the big man as he lifted it from the girl's arms.

"Hello, kleiner," he couldn't help but grin. The puppy, coming out of his irritated state, became curious of the big man. "Aren't you a fat little one?" The puppy responded by trying to lick his nose.

Next to him, Gilbert came over, smiling, scratching his ears. "Hey, mutt," he poked the little snout. "You like your new owner, huh?"

Blackie started to whine next to him, so Ludwig crouched down, holding the puppy against him, ready to stand should the older dog try to bite. As it turned out, Blackie just sniffed the puppy inquisitively. The puppy, beginning to become excited, just started licking at the other dog too, his little stump of a tail wiggling uncontrollably. A chuckle escaped Germany.

"Well, I think they like each other," Gilbert nodded approvingly. "Guess you can keep him, West."

Ludwig stood, staring down tenderly at the puppy. "JaDanke, Elsie. He'll have a good home."

The human smiled affectionately. "I know he will. I hope you like him."

"I do. Very much."

"What are you going to call him?" Gilbert asked.

Ludwig thought a moment, holding the puppy up, looking in his dark eyes. The puppy squirmed, becoming anxious again. "Berlitz," he said at last.

The albino smiled broadly. "I like it."

"Hopefully he'll grow up to make a good dog for you," Elsie smiled at her nation cuddling the small animal.

"He will," Ludwig nodded confidently. "He will."

And as he and his brother bid farewell to Elsie, and they walked back to the palace with Blackie running around between them and a puppy in his arms, Ludwig wanted to believe that everything would be all right now. Perhaps his worrying about the new Kaiser was for not. Perhaps Wilhelm would surprise and exceed all expectations.

He hoped.

Author's Note: More for you, yay! A sweeter chapter again before the real trouble begins.

History Notes: The Social Democrats, a group Bismarck despised greatly. They were leftists that challenged the traditional government and eventually tried to assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm twice in 1878. Bismarck, being the "Iron Chancellor" and all, had them ban.

As you figured out in the story, Kaisers Wilhelm I and Friedrich III were father and son, and died the same year, Friedrich only 99 days after his father, and was secede by his son, Wilhelm II, who most of us know was REALLY weird…but more on him later. The thoughts of Friedrich is a quote from Friedrich, as he was disappointed that he got sick and couldn't do anything.

The Motorwagen was the first vehicles ever made, created by Karl Benz in 1886. He started selling them in 1888…So begins Germany's love of cars~

Moabit- a suburb outside of Berlin.

German: Traute-Trusted (just a name I thought was cute for a guard dog).

'Nother Note: Again, WWI is coming up soon! With the instance of Kaiser Wilhelm, the war is just around the corner. Prepare yourselves, everyone, because the chapters may go up in rating due to future graphic detail. Just a warning. But please leave a review on your way out, as I'd be most beholden to ya! Thanks!

P.S. I will kiss anyone who catches the Franz Kafke reference I threw into this~