Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia: Axis Powers. I make no money off of this.
Author's Note: This is a request fic for Soleil Avec la Pluie who won a small contest of mine on the Avada Kedavra, Inc. forum. She requested angst, this is more hurt/comfort though...ah well, I can't write pure angst.
Plot bunny from Soleil Avec la Pluie on the AU plot bunny post of AKI.
There's a lot of exposition in this part and very little Pru/UK, mostly Prussia's thoughts which could be read (if you squint) as a bit of Pru/UK.
Summary: He had to hear about it through Germany, and as soon as he did he was by England's side, helping him. When he found the bastard who had hurt him, their wouldn't be enough left to fill a matchbox. Pr/UK
Chapter 1: The House Stank
The house stank, that was his first clue of the problems inside. Arthur was a meticulous neat freak. Even hundreds of years ago when he was a pirate he kept things tidy. He guessed he had heard correctly. Of course the attack corresponded to a missile strike that was still being tracked. No one could identify the source of the missiles.
America was harping that they were terrorists from the Middle East. France was saying that he would have picked them up on radar if they had come from that direction, Italy agreed. Which lent suspicion on America. Germany said that it wasn't Russia who had attacked the United Kingdom unprovoked. China claimed no responsibility, aru. It was a mystery that the world conference was trying to solve, which nation had sent the missiles that had destroyed Heathrow and the surrounding area, and which nation had shot Arthur in the back.
He found Arthur sleeping in his new chair, unable to find a way to get up the stairs or out of it to lay on the bed. The doctors said he would never walk again, of course, considering that Arthur was a nation, it was unlikely he would be confided to the chair forever. It would take time, but eventually the damage would fade. He sat down the bag he brought and took off his coat. It was a cold fall day in England and between the rain and the fear of attack, an oppressive atmosphere had settled over the island.
He walked over and touched England on the shoulder, hoping to wake up the other nation. It didn't take much to wake him up, and he looked up, "Prussia?"
"The awesome me, at your service," Prussia said with a smile and a theatrical bow.
"What are you doing here?" Arthur asked.
"I came to help you."
"I don't need help," England had always been rather independent, but it was obvious to both of them that this was a lie.
"I know you don't, but it's not going to stop me from helping you, anyways."
The chair was not even a powered chair, it was obviously rented from the pharmacy until he received the power chair that he should be using. "What have you been eating this week?" he asked, Arthur looked like he had lost fifty pounds, which wasn't good at all. Arthur didn't have enough meat on his bones to just be losing fifty pounds for no reason.
"I haven't been grocery shopping and I don't keep much food in the house," Arthur confessed in a whisper. His stomach choose that moment to make its displeasure of the situation known.
Prussia sighed, "I'll call for some take-out tonight and go grocery shopping tomorrow. But I think you need a bath."
"Are you saying I stink?" England shouted, getting irritable.
"Uh, yeah, that's what I'm saying," Prussia said with a devil-may-care expression.
"I suppose I do," England said. "I have been afraid of getting stuck in the bathtub."
"Well I'll run the bath and get you in the tub, you call when you want out. Or I'll come get you when the food gets here," he pushed England's chair towards the lower level bath. "What do you want to eat, anyways?"
"China always makes good food," England said.
"Chinese it is, then," Prussia said, running the bath. "Is that a good temperature?"
"That's fine," England said. "I'd like Sweet and Sour Chicken and some Crab Rangoon."
"Will do, call me if you need anything," Prussia said. England managed to undress himself, but getting into the tub was another problem. It would appear that the whole house would need to be upgraded to be handicap accessible. He could get out of the chair, but he couldn't get in the tub without sloshing water all over the floor and hurting himself. Prussia, though, upon seeing the wound that had been left untreated refused to let him even try to get into the water.
"We have to prevent water from getting into your stitches," he thought quickly and unraveled the dirty bandages that had been on the other. England was very lucky that his wound hadn't become infected with the care he had taken of himself. Prussia cleaned the wounds. There were two of them, the bullet had actually entered on the left side of the back at a shallow angle, passed through the spinal column, and exited out the right side just above the hip.
The person who had shot him had done so in such a way that the only internal injury had been to the spinal column in such a way that it only effected use of his legs. It had been pre-meditated, the bullet found once trajectory was determined was a generic 7.62x51 mm NATO round likely fired from an Accuracy International Arctic Warfare, a gun originating from the United Kingdom, someone had a taste for irony.
Fresh bandages were applied and cut sandwich baggies and duct tape served as impromptu waterproofing. Then England was allowed in the water.
Prussia lifted him and carefully lowered him into the warm bath water and got the things he needed for cleaning himself. "Call me if you need anything," he repeated and left to go order the food.
England was shocked. He hadn't expected Prussia of all people to come and help him out while he was injured. But it wasn't the first time the other nation had helped him while he was injured. Though in the past it was mutual assistance. Usually cleaning some sort of stab wound. Now he was the only one injured. Shot through the back by a coward with a sniper rifle.
For a few minutes he just soaked, allowing the warm water to slide over him, but he knew he needed to get clean.
He never realized what a task bathing was without use of his legs. He was lucky that he had to call Gilbert back into the bathroom with a clean cup so he could rinse the shampoo out of his hair. He was afraid to try dunking his head. He might accidentally drown himself, and he didn't want to try to find out if nations could survive drowning or not.
Soaping up his upper body was easier. Though not by much. He found that without signals to and from the brain he had to be extra careful in certain spots. Luckily this quickly went away without any stimulation. Once he felt he was clean enough he relaxed back into the warm water.
He could hear Gilbert in another section of the house, sounded like he was doing dishes. He wished he could help him, but he could barely reach the sink. It was a depressing thought how dependent he was on Prussia, but Gilbert came over on his own accord, he didn't have to come help him. He wondered what the other nation wanted out of the deal, but he would deal with that later. He was still a strong nation, even if he was currently a paraplegic.
He heard the doorbell ring and sighed as he pulled the stopper on the tub (which wasn't as hard as some of the other tasks because it was attached to the faucet by a chain which he could reach by bending forward), reaching for one the towels that Prussia had conveniently placed nearby before he left. It didn't take long after he had began to dry himself off for Prussia to enter the bathroom carrying clean clothes with him.
He quietly helped England dry off and out of the tub, setting him on a towel on top of the loo to get him into clean dry clothes. Arthur had realized when he used the loo just how difficult it was to put underwear and pants on. And Gilbert performed the task without commenting on Arthur's weaknesses or trying to seduce him.
"They didn't have Sweet and Sour Chicken, I hope pork is okay," Prussia said, putting socks on the other's feet.
"It's alright," England agreed. He was able to slide into the chair fully dressed in pajamas soon after and was wheeled out to his dining room. He noticed one of his chairs had been removed, and it was in this spot that his food was served. His stomach gave a loud protest to the fact that the food was sitting on the table and not in his belly so he began eating.
He saw a steaming cup sitting above his plate and picked it up. It revealed to be tea and with some trepidation he tried it, only to be surprised. It wasn't bad like he was expecting, it was quite good, he wondered how long Gilbert had been studying the way he made tea.
"I haven't," Gilbert said. "I just know that you're an OCD bastard when it comes to tea so I followed the directions on the box to the second."
"Thank you, Gilbert," England said, finding himself unable to stop the smile that was twitching into existence on his face.
Their dinner passed in a comfortable silence of two friends who knew everything about each other already. Until England asked, "Why are you helping me?"
"Hmm...the awesome me has to have a reason?" Prussia asked. "Because you need a friend who isn't invisible to everyone else."
"So you came because you're my friend?" England whispered. He finished his food and yawned. He was really tired and he needed to use the loo.
"You're not sleeping in that chair again, even if I have to carry you up the stairs," Prussia said.
England frowned, "I don't have a bed down here."
"Then it's up the stairs we go," Prussia got up and pushed the chair to the base of the stairs before locking the wheels. England decided that he had to have an elevator installed as Prussia lifted him up bridal style and began carrying him up the stairs.
He was breathing heavily and England realized that the only reason he could do this was because of the weight he lost. He kept quite though, knowing better than to try to hold a conversation when Prussia needed all his breath for the physical exercise he was putting himself through. He paused half-way up the stairs, leaning against the wall before continuing.
There was a time when this would have been nothing for Prussia, even if England had weighed the amount he had last week. But a nation's physical strength was directly proportional to the strength of the state. It told something about Gilbert Beilschmidt the human that he could still carry Arthur up a flight of stairs. Arthur, prior to his paralysis, would have no trouble carrying Prussia up the stairs, as even at the diminished state of his empire, he was still a strong nation.
"Which room?" Prussia said, leaning against the banister at the stop of the stairs.
"Second door on the right," Arthur said. "You can use the room across from it, it's relatively clean."
"I'll keep that in mind," he said, heading over to the door. Arthur was able to help out by opening the door once they reached it.
"Thank you," England said, as Gilbert sat him on the edge of the bed to tuck him in.
"It's no problem for the awesome me," even though he was still putting his arrogance in every word, Arthur, for the first time, could see that it was a mask. Prussia was visibly out of breath from the exercise. But he had carried a hundred pounds of dead weight up a flight of stairs.
"Can you bring the chair up here? I'll work up here for the next few days if you can take care the bottom half of the house," Arthur said.
"I'll bring it up before I go to bed and set it next to the bed," he said, tucking Arthur beneath the covers. "Need anything?"
"A glass of water would be nice," England said.
Prussia disappeared out of the door and came back a few minutes later with a clear glass filled with water that he sat next to the bed.
"Thank you," Arthur said.
"I said it was no problem," Prussia replied.
"And I still feel the need to thank you," England said.
"Well, you're welcome then," Prussia said and exited out the door. "Just call if you need anything," he said, peeking back in.
The house stunk. But Prussia had time, and energy. He would clean it up. Starting by taking out the rotting garbage. It was shameful that he had allowed himself to fall so far out of fitness that he breathed heavily carrying Arthur up a flight of stairs. He was glad that England had decided that now he was up the stairs he didn't need to be downstairs.
It did mean that he would taking Arthur his food, but a plate of food was easier to carry than a human body. He sighed and leaned against the wall next to the trash can. He wasn't in danger of disappearing like the Roman Empire, but he wasn't any more remarkable than a normal human. It was depressing to think about, but he wasn't going to dwell on it.
With the trash taken out he went inside and decided to do the dishes from dinner before investigating the state of the fridge. He was willing to bet there was spoiled milk in there that he would have to take outside.
Arthur had been shot two weeks ago, he only spent a week in the hospital, and then a week at home before Gilbert had been told of his state and came right over. Apparently his brother had learned from France at an EU conference when attendance had been taken and England wasn't there. His brother had sat on it for a week before telling Gilbert about it when England didn't show up for a meeting of the world.
Thinking of brothers, Prussia wondered where Wales, Scotland, and North Ireland were. Not only that there were the over seas brothers and sisters, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, and Bermuda to name a few (though admittedly, if Bermuda was on her way she was probably lost in her own backyard).
England had never been one to let people, even fellow nations, to close. They probably all assumed he could take care of himself and were too busy with their own tasks. It made him sympathize with Arthur, which was the sole reason he had come. Both were older brothers that were not appreciated by their younger siblings. Admittedly, West wasn't a complete jack ass like Sealand and America, but nor was he a good kid like Canada. He had, in fact dissolved the Prussian state with no thought to his older brother, just to make the German empire a single state back in the war.
He paused in his thoughts and looked around. He was holding a cartoon of spoiled milk and the lid to the trashcan was open. He had been cleaning Arthur's kitchen on auto, to lost in thoughts of brothers. He knew a lot about Arthur, they had been allies throughout much of history. Not only that, they shared similar histories. Both had been born fighting. Him as a Teutonic Knight, Arthur as Angles trying to unite all the Germanic tribes of his island and expel the Danes. They both had undying rivalries with their neighbors, his was with Poland and Lithuania, Arthur's was with France.
Both had been converted to Roman Catholicism from Pagan faiths and then converted to Protestant-ism on their own to get away from the hypocrisy that was the Roman Catholic church at the time. Both had been empires that lost most of their lands, though in Prussia's case he had lost all of them. Both had an unwavering loyalty to monarchies. Both had raised brothers who turned out to be stronger than them. And both had a singular arrogance that most nations bulked at (Prussia's coming out as his "awesome me" statements and Arthur's as his "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude).
Stepping back from what he was doing he realized he had cleaned the entire kitchen, polishing things to mirror shine. His thoughts were too deep. He had tried to step back from one thought only to find himself in another.
Maybe his rambling thoughts were a sign of exhaustion. He decided to go to bed and finish the lower half of the house tomorrow. He would go get some muffins and tea for Arthur's breakfast when the shops opened in the morning and go grocery shopping after breakfast. Than he would make lunch and start cleaning the sitting room. He wouldn't bother Arthur unless necessary.
With a sigh he went to bed, noticing that the house no longer stunk.
End Note: Wales, Scotland, and North Ireland are all said to be brothers of England with the same eyebrows. Though they have never been drawn in Hetalia, only written. I made Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, and Bermuda as relatives as they are British oversea territories. Bermuda's ability to get lost in her backyard is a reference to the Bermuda Triangle.