I really have to stop writing oneshots... but I can't! And now, I've gone and made Luddy a sobbing mess! I'm a terrible person, I really am. I don't even know how this idea entered my head. All I know is that I wanted to write a different side of Ludwig that didn't Feliciano. Thus, angsty last moments with his beloved dog is written.
Okay, several things.
-I checked to see if the timelines for the development of the Golden breed matched up with the history of Germany, and low and behold, it did!
-I really have no idea why Prussia would be friends with Scotland, I just made them friends so that Gil could bring Aster home to his little brother. Though now that I think about it, they would probably get along pretty well...
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia, Ludwig, or even Aster. All I have is not-too-bright Shih Tzu that is afriad of his own shadow.
No. Not her. Anything but her.
"Mr. Beilshmidt, I would like your permission to put her down."
Ludwig looked down at the pitiful animal lying on the cold, steel table. He felt tears sting his eyes as his sky blue orbs met her chocolate brown ones. He… he couldn't. There had to be another way… there had to be…
"Is that the only option?" He asked the veterinarian, stony faced. The vet nodded solemnly.
"We've tried treating her, you know this. She is in pain, Mr. Beilshmidt. It hurts her to hold on."
The blond bit back a choked sob, trying to be the strong, emotionless man the world saw him as. But, he found, that was easier said than done. For there upon the table lay his most loyal companion – his Golden Retriever, Aster.
Aster, who had been by his side for centuries, was dying. While she had lived a far longer life than any mortal animal, she was not immortal, just as he wasn't, and her time had come. As with many larger dog breeds, hip dysplasia and arthritis had begun to take it's toll. It broke Ludwig's heart to see his beloved dog in so much pain. Because she was so much more than that to him. Loyal companion, confident, family member, and best friend. Aster was all of these things to him and much more. Of course he loved his other two dogs, Blackie and Berlitz, but they hadn't been with him as long as Aster had.
He could remember the day Gilbert had brought her home when he was just a young boy, his country only beginning to take shape.
A young boy, about twelve or so, sat quietly at a desk, reading a book. The door slammed open, causing the boy to look up, though with little surprise in his features. For this happened almost everyday. His big brother would come home after a long day of fighting, annoying their Austrian neighbor, and causing general havoc on Europe in this manner most everyday.
"Hey West," the albino greeted his little brother. "Come outside! I got an awesome surprise for you!" Little Ludwig just glared at his brother, not happy about being interrupted in his studying, but begrudgingly got up to follow the young man outside.
The Prussian led the young blond around towards the barn.
"So," he began to explain. "I was visiting my buddy Scotland, and he told me about something one of his people was developing. When he showed me what it was, it was just so awesome that I knew I had to get you one! So, I asked him for one, and he said yes! How awesome is that?"
"Awesome, Bruder." Ludwig sighed. Gilbert had an unusual affinity for the word 'awesome', and whenever he used it, the little German boy knew there was no arguing with him.
Before they rounded the corner to the barn, Gilbert stopped short, and spun around to face his little brother.
"Alright, West. Since this is a surprise, I need you to close your eyes and let me take you there. Got it?" He asked the boy. Ludwig nodded his head, and closed his eyes. The albino took his little hand in his own, much larger one, and led the child towards the barn. "Now sit down, and don't move or open your eyes. I'll be right back." Gilbert said as he let go of Ludwig's hand and went into the barn. Ludwig did as his brother instructed and sat on the ground, cross-legged. He heard his brother exit the barn, and could sense him standing infront of him. The young man bent down, and placed something in the boy's lap. Ludwig's eyes sprang open, and (against every shred of logic in his mind) squealed in joy. For in his lap sat a soft, golden puppy. He hugged the little canine to his chest, and she licked his cheek, making him giggle.
"Bruder, where did you get her?" He asked his brother, not looking away from the furry, wriggling bundle in his lap. Gilbert looked down at his brother and the puppy, Grinning.
"I already told you, Scotland gave her to me. One of his people has been trying to breed a new type of hunting dog, and this awesomely cute furball is the end result!" He exclaimed.
Ludwig smiled, rubbing the puppy behind her ear. As his new puppy wiggled around, something on her neck caught his eye. He stilled her to get a closer look. It was a collar. But it was not the plain collar that he had noticed; it was what was attached to the collar. A lovely, blue aster flower was tied to her collar by the stem. He ran his fingers over the velvet petals, his other hand stroking the puppy's ears of a similar texture.
"Aster…" He said contemplatively.
"What was that, West?" Gilbert asked, not having heard his brother clearly the first time. Ludwig looked up at the young albino man, his blue eyes shining.
"Aster." He repeated. "Her name his Aster."
And so, Ludwig Beilshmidt's love for all creatures canine began.
"There… is no need for her to suffer any longer…" Ludwig told the vet, trying to keep the raw emotion out of his voice. He had to be strong, for his image. If not for his image, then for Aster. And if not for Aster… then for himself. The vet nodded.
"Do you want a few minutes to say goodbye?" He asked, concerned. Ludwig simply nodded his head, and the doctor left the room.
He pulled up a chair to the table where his beloved dog lay, and held her head in his large, callused hands.
"Aster…" He whispered. "My beautiful Golden Girl…" He was done holding back. He let his tears flow freely, showing all the pent up emotion he'd been bottling up throughout his loyal companion's illness. Aster feebly tried to lick his tears away, which only made him cry harder. He buried his face in her golden fur, now pale from old age. Gray fur covered her muzzle, and she was thinner than she used to be. But her eyes… her eyes still held that same spark they did centuries ago when Gilbert had brought her home. Though now it was noticeably dimmer, it was still there. Ludwig gazed into those brown eyes, and he saw everything that his Golden Girl was feeling. Weakness, fatigue, pain. But he also saw the unconditional love for him that only a dog could have for their master. Even through the Great Wars, Aster had stood by him, eternally loyal. She didn't care if her master was doing wicked things - things that he didn't even want to do in the first place. She only cared about him. As long as he was there, she would stand by his side like the loyal dog she was. It could clearly be seen whenever he spent time with her, in public or private. Everything about her said 'I belong to this man. He is my Master, and I am his loyal friend until my dying breath'.
But it never occurred to Ludwig that her dying breath would ever come. Only when she became sick was he reminded of her, and his own, mortality. He knew that he would not live forever; Nations never lasted. And while some may argue that Prussia is no longer a nation, that is not true. He and his brother share their country, equally. If Germany were to fall, they both would as well. Needless to say, this scared Ludwig. Seeing his dog become ill had reminded him of the times when he or his brother had been close to death's door.
The only difference was that they survived.
He knew that Aster wouldn't live to see another sunrise, even if he had refused the euthanasia. This was what was best for her. And his Golden Girl deserved only the best.
He sat back to dry his eyes. Then he stood to let the vet back in.
"Do you want to stay?" the man adorned in the white coat asked.
"Ja." He said quietly.
He sat back down in the chair, stroking Aster's velvety ears, just as he did on that day so long ago.
'Just like flower petals' He thought sadly.
The veterinarian prepared the injection, and looked to Ludwig for permission. The German nodded, and the clear liquid was injected into the dog's bloodstream.
After a few minutes, Aster's eyes began to slowly close. Ludwig tried to hold back his tears, but this time he fail. He tasted the salty tang on his lips as he felt his beloved dog go limp in his arms.
The vet silently left the room, knowing that the man needed a few moments to mourn in peace.
He held her motionless form to his chest, weeping bitter tears. He could barely choke out what he wanted to say.
"Sleep well, my beautiful Golden Girl."
Review, and I may write another chapter with a much happier Ludwig!