Character(s):young!Germany, Prussia, Austria

Pairing(s): Germany/Prussia

Summary: Prussia is ashamed of his feelings for Germany and hides them. He doesn't know that Germany is trapped in an even worse snare. He remains clueless about Germany's nightly visits to his bedroom, and that he is being molested. (story taking place before the Austro-Prussian War)

A/N: This part somewhat resembles a prologue, even though it's classified as the first chapter. Also, it contains a headcanon of mine about nations changing their appearance, which is encouraged by Italy's transformation in episode 48. In other words, I always thought that the nations don't grow like humans, but rather have physical transformations which are quite painful. Don't judge me ;_;

- On the Other Side of the Pillow -

"Prussia, Sir?"

Visibly dissatisfied, the addressed nation turned away from his interlocutor to face the sudden intruder.

"What?" He snapped.

"It's Germany, Sir."

The urgent tone erased every trace of annoyance from Prussia's features.

There were many people inside; too many.

Prussia made his way through the mass of people jammed in the stuffy room. Even after he managed to go inside people kept pouring in, and he was squeezed by so many bodies while he threaded his way through the crowd of humans eager to witness the transformation. Some were Austrians, some Prussians, there was quite a number of foreigners too.

Roderich already stood near the hidden bed. Gilbert noticed him from the corner of his eye.

"Prussia." The brunette addressed him, but he didn't answer at first. He didn't have time for a conversation. He still needed to see Ludwig.

"Prussia, listen to me. Ludwig is—"

"I know." He cut off briskly. "It was about time."

There was a small moan that came from the bed in front of them.

In the sea of whispers and murmurs he heard it. He would recognize that voice anywhere, anytime. His brother, his little Ludwig, hidden behind the heavy folds of the bed curtain, helpless on the mattress.

He pushed it aside in haste and found a doctor, two assistants, and the one he was looking for. His actions unleashed a series of complaints and shrill protests from the medical assistants, yet the doctor himself merely spared him a glance and drew a long breath, nonchalantly knocking the ashes out of his tobacco pipe into a big glass ashtray on the table beside the bed. The man puffed out and the mist of tobacco smoke haloed around his head before he spoke.

"The change is not done yet. Leave him time." He said very calmly, smoking his pipe.

One of the assistants ripped the curtain away from his grasp, closing it around the bed anew, and Gilbert felt thankful. He forgot about the crowd outside.

"… Gilbert…" The child below managed through pants, impatient to get attention he had all along.

The older nation fell to his knees.

He himself had experienced this several times in his life. He knew full well through what kind of agonies the child nation was going through in this very moment.

"He was very quiet. A true fighter." The doctor commented and a faint smile appeared on Gilbert's lips.

"Acting all brave, are you?" He whispered to the still little nation but a pained expression flashed on Ludwig's adorable features and he immediately regretted the teasing.

He took the tiny hand into his and brushed the blond strands away from his damp forehead. Eyes with the color of bluest skies watched him, desperately searching for encouragement as another wave of pain struck, torturing him. His jaw tightened under Gilbert's comforting fingers and he bit back a moan, his entire body tensed. Ludwig's small hand was clutching onto Gilbert's now, trying to relieve some of the throbbing ache, even if only emotionally.

It ended as quickly as it started, leaving the blond panting again while his body tried to relax.

"Is it… always like this…?" Ludwig queried and Gilbert could only nod in return. "It hurts…" Ludwig added in a small voice, his courage faltering as he felt a new wave of pain he wasn't ready for.

The child's heart-shattering cry resounded through the bedroom and scarlet eyes shut as Gilbert found himself unable to watch the blond suffer. If there were only a way—If he could only—

Another hideous scream followed, small fingers were crushing Gilbert's and he squeezed back, wishing that he could switch places with Ludwig or do anything to end his agony and relieve his pain.

The young nation gasped for breath, feverish, forehead and temples damp with sweat while he appreciated the short break.

"It's begun." The man across him announced, but Gilbert barely heard him. Someone nudged him and he stood up, completely numb as he let go of Ludwig just before the child gave another piercing cry. Ludwig's sweat was still on his fingers when he clasped his hands and started praying in a helpless try to alleviate his suffering. Ludwig's cries frightened him dreadfully.

Before he knew what was happening, someone pushed him away brashly and thrust him aside, away from the bed and Ludwig. He stumbled backwards until he wasn't able to see anything, staring simply at the maroon curtain fluttering gently inches away from his face. Roderich appeared next to him.

"He will be alright." The Austrian assured.

Of course he would, Gilbert knew that. But he wasn't alright now.

There was another shrilling sound, the last one before they were engulfed by silence. Gilbert found himself sincerely and deeply affected by it, the piercing cries still echoed in his head, but he hid a shiver quite successfully. He wanted to bury his face into his palms in either relief or frustration, but he knew he was being watched, it was wrong time for showing weakness.

The doctor's unexpected exclamation awakened him, rousing him from the stunned condition he was in. He listened how the assistants called for the people to open the windows and let fresh air inside. Gilbert turned to shout at the crowd to make some space, and a number of people spilled out into the hall, obliging his commands.

With distress marring his features, Gilbert slipped inside rashly, annoyed at waiting to see what has happened.

Once he was beside the bed again, he stood like thunderstruck, as if he has seen a ghost, not believing his own eyes.

Was this the same nation he saw just few minutes ago?

Was this the baby boy, swaddled in linen, sleeping sweetly in his arms? The little nation that won Prussia's heart when he first clasped his pale fingers in his tiny hands? The boy plucking at his sleeve in a fruitless effort to prevent him from going to battles…?

While these memories were rolling in his mind, he perceived that someone was looking at him from behind, but he only vaguely took notice of how Austria joined him to see what was worth observing so long.

He looked at Prussia first, observing how a strange luster appeared in scarlet eyes before he followed his gaze.

Ludwig appeared to be about 16 or 17 of human age, but he turned out to be quite a beauty. His loose shirt was now clinging to his exhausted body, chest heaving as both stared at him. Gilbert's eyes trailed over the smooth white skin, not yet marred by scars, longer strands of blond hair falling over his forehead and closed eyes, light flush on his comely face, trailed over the delicate wings of his nose, parted wet lips, at the creamy whiteness of his throat when he moved his head in a light slumber.

He was very handsome, tall and well-shaped, with strong and beautiful limbs, even though his features appeared to have preserved some of that childlike innocence and softness.

Gilbert's feelings were at clash. He wished to show him to the whole world, yet hide him from everyone at the same time. His heart was so full, he couldn't say anything. Roderich's penetrating gaze soon put his beating heart to rest and he remembered where he was, swallowing thickly.

The Austrian made a shrewd guess of what has befallen the other nation. He thought that Gilbert was perhaps attracted to the younger German and that he fell prey to his beauty. Suddenly, Gilbert's face fell and he adopted a despondent expression − Roderich suspected that he regretted the failure to do something about it more than the feeling itself.

The Prussian spun around wildly and left the room in haste, eager to get away as soon as possible. Roderich connived at Prussia's escape because he felt sorry for him. He always knew the Prussian had a weakness for Ludwig.

The young nation fell asleep, and didn't wake until far in the night.

"How are you feeling?"

Ludwig didn't open his eyes right away.

When he did, the blank look on his face stunned Austria.

"I've seen better days." Ludwig answered with a sigh. Roderich nodded slowly and folded his hands in his lap while he sat straight in a chair beside the huge bed. Ludwig didn't seem very willing to have a conversation, but he didn't blame him. After all, it wasn't him who Ludwig wanted to see.

"Uncle Roderich?" Ludwig brought him out of his daze. He stopped inspecting his brown deerskin gloves and looked up at him. "Please tell me your candid opinion. Am I so exceedingly ugly that Gilbert is disappointed with me?" What took Roderich by surprise weren't his words, but the fact that he talked very gravely, as if irredeemably convinced it was the truth.

"Of course not. Nonsense—"

"Then why hasn't he come yet to see me? Why is he avoiding me?" Ludwig forgot his manners and cut him off, but the Austrian could clearly see that he was in a peevish temper, and therefore forgave him quickly.

"He's been too busy, I'm afraid." He offered.

"So busy that he couldn't find at least few minutes to see me?" Ludwig gloomily remarked. Fury at the rejection welled up in him. However, he became aware of his tone, and turned to the older nation.

"Forgive me, I was speaking in anger." He apologized.

Roderich offered a small smile in return, feeling guilty himself for lying to the blond.

"Ludwig, he won't be coming." He stated succinctly. "But I could ask him to come if it pleases you."

Ludwig shook his head. "Let him do what he likes. I'm past caring." He lied. Roderich's words have affected him deeply.

"If you wish so." The Austrian stood up, "I will detain you no longer." He was on his way out when Ludwig's voice made him stop in his tracks.

"Tell him he is a miserable coward." Ludwig requested, "Please tell him that."

When he left the room, Gilbert was already waiting outside. The Prussian acknowledged him with a nod and Roderich took few steps closer.

"How is he?" Gilbert inquired right away.

"He is well enough."

Gilbert nodded and gave a short hum in return. "Did he say anything?"

Roderich sighed and adjusted his glasses."He instructed me to tell you that you are a miserable coward." He stressed the last few words, closely watching his reaction.

Gilbert lifted his eyebrows slightly, and gave a short laugh devoid of amusement.

"And what do you say?" He asked at last.

Roderich was sorely tempted to say "I share his sentiments.", but restrained himself.

"I think that you are trapped in a terrible plight."

Aside from nodding, Gilbert couldn't offer anything else, and finding himself at a great loss of words, he walked off in silence.

To Be Continued…

A/N: The fic is taking place during the time of Schleswig-Holstein dispute. Explained in 'Hetalia style', the following happened:

Since the late 15th century, Schleswig-Holstein (currently a German state, but duchies in 1864) had been controlled by Denmark. However, in 1863 Denmark annexed Schleswig-Holstein.

This was a violation of international law, and angered both Prussia and Austria. Prussia turned to Austria and asked for Austrian-Prussian cooperation. Austria was sufficiently impressed by his arguments, so together they demanded that Denmark restore the status quo. When Denmark refused, Austrian-Prussian forces occupied Holstein, then invaded Schleswig.

It's important to understand why I chose exactly this period of history. I thought it was probable that Prussia and Austria lived together during this period (Germany with them too), and I needed such scenario for the story. In which palace they live exactly I leave for you readers to decide.

Comments and thoughts would be lovely *3*