Long and slender fingers nimbly clicked the lock of an old wooden door. Its gold plating was tarnished to reveal a dingy bronze underneath. A sigh came from lips that had been drawn into a thin line moments before. A hand came up before a finger pushed back on the dark frame of a pair of spectacles. If only that lock were enough to halt irritating albino Prussians. Perhaps it would be time to invest in a heavy duty security system.
Austria turned then to retreat to his music room, his sanctuary. His fingers ached as they called out to his grand piano. It was the only part of his house that had remained as long as he had. The sleek bodied instrument had been there for him through the roughest times in history, the Seven Year War, the War of Austrian Succession, both World Wars, all of it. His piano had come to be his ally and some nations even went as far as to say that it was his lover. He dully remembered those he had been previously married to commenting as such at least once and if they had not really, as his memory for such things was nearly as good as his sense of direction, then he knew they too had thought it.
When he started his search for his lover, he always began here. He would walk through the entryway and there she would be waiting. Austria would seat himself at the bench in front of her before positioning his fingers to caress her and make her sing.
However, that was not the current case. A flustered pianist blindly approached the piano in hopes of making her recite Chopin in order to calm his nerves. In an unceremoniously manner, he plopped himself onto the bench... or what would have been the bench if it were there. Austria's rear slammed against the ground and he gasped. His violet eyes shot open instantly as he stared into an empty room save for a scattered amount of music stands and various string and woodwind instruments.
It was nonsense to think that she had run off. His piano was a mere object that was much too heavy for anyone to lift alone. This would only mean one thing; she had been kidnapped. Austria frowned. He knew the perpetrator's identity. Said person had been thrown out of his house mere minutes before; So much for violently interrogating him.
Prussia had pulled many tricks through the hundreds of years they had been rivals. His presence in general was overbearing. He was too boisterous for the aristocrat's taste and downright rude. Gilbert enjoyed raiding the fridge for Kuchen and alcohol when he was unwelcome. He would continue to pull stunts like that until he was kicked out, passed out, or sprawled out on the couch listening to the musician play. Music managed to sooth even that beast at times and for that, Austria was grateful. A Prussian attention span could run for no more than five songs at most before he was up and about again and urinating in the garden. However, Gilbert had never once caused harm to the piano. Roderich assumed that he knew better than to toy with an artifact nearly as old as they were and that held almost as much history. For this reason though, he also believed that Prussia had finally decided to lash out against the piano. Regardless to the why, Austria would not stand for it.
While Austria fumed silently and thought of ways to torture Prussia, said ex-nation shimmied his way up the lattice works. An envelope clenched between his teeth, he groped for holds in the sturdy white wood, avoiding tangling himself in the climbing morning glories. He had thinned them out with his numerous surprise visits, but the aristocratic always seemed to plant more in a feeble attempt to stop him.
Clutching the windowsill, Prussia pulled the letter free. The Austrian, as if sensing his presence as a disturbance, turned to face the open window. This left him with little time to place the note in plain sight and drop down. He barely landed properly in his haste. Moving from a crouch, Gilbert darted into the nearby brush.
Roderich ran for the window. He slammed against the ledge before leaning out for a better view. He swore he saw a glimpse of a messy white mop.
As he scanned the area, Prussia pressed against the house before easing through the bushes. Once he was totally out of Austria's range of sight, he fled the property as quickly as he could, his usual laughter on his lips.
With a sigh, Austria pulled his head inside again. He slid the window shut before turning to go away. Violet eyes falling to the floor, he saw the white of the envelop that peeked out from under his shoe. He pulled his foot back before picking it up. It had weight to it and there was an odd bulge in the bottom as if something rectangular had been shoved inside. Austria hooked an index finger under the flap before forcing it open. He pulled the letter from the inside and read it with dull curiosity.
In hurried and nearly illegible script it said, "How # you are to perceive who the villain might B. For being so smart, here, have a high C. I know you'll enjoy it nearly as much as being in the presence of the AWESOME ME."
"His handwriting really is atrocious, but the rhyming is impressive for him, even if it is mediocre," Roderich mumbled to himself. While reading, he noted the name of music notes scattered throughout the message. Turning the envelope upside-down, he checked its contents. Two ivory piano keys fell into his palm along with an ebony key half their size. His eyes widened in horror and the keys clattered to the floor. He set a hand over his heart as he felt his chest tighten.
Prussia had started to disassemble his piano. He had pried three keys from the keyboard then and given them back. It almost sounded like he would hold her for ransom, but there wasn't nothing Austria could think of that he could gain from this new extreme.
Still, this was Austria's piano. He may not know what it was that Gilbert wanted, but he would be more than willing to pay just about anything for her return.
The problem now would be locating the albino. Although it should not have been too hard to find an albino with such a loud mouth, Roderich knew that he could be anywhere in Vienna by now. He had no idea when the note had been placed either. It was sometime between that morning, the last time the musician had been in contact with his love, and now. For all he knew, he was stressed enough to imagine that Prussia had been there minutes ago.
He pressed his lips into a thin line once more, accenting the mole on his face. One other person might know the whereabouts of Gilbert while another would be willing to hunt all day. Both would be willing to punish him.
Since Roderich did not feel the need to have Hungary start up a search, he choose the lesser of two evils as far as Prussia's safety was concerned. He called Germany.
The blonde answered after three rings. "Hallo?" A high pitched voice could be heard in the background making a distinct "Ve" sound.
"I apologize for bothering you," Austria replied, straight to the point, "but do you know vhere your brother is?"
Germany sighed. "Nein, but he isn't here." With that being said, he hung up.
Panic started to set in. Roderich could feel hot pin pricks under his collar. He tugged at it in an attempt to loosen it, his hands beaded with starting sweat as well. Where could Gilbert, and more importantly, his piano, be?
The day before had yielded no sign of the Prussian or his prized possession. Roderich had woken up early that morning. His night had been restless, sent tossing and turning in his worry. He spent the next few hours on his feet pacing through his foyer. Left, right, left, right, left, right. He could not even bother to sit down for more than a moment. His leg would start to bounce or he would start to tap his fingers nervously against the table top. Austria could only imagine how overjoyed Gilbert must be. He must have been quite the sight if someone were watching.
During a time when he broke from his pacing to sit down, he heard his mail as it was placed into the metal box. Roderich jolted, shocked by the sudden noise. He sighed when he realized what it was before raising to his feet once again. Happy to have something productive to do, he exited his home to retrieve his mail.
Mixed in with the rest of his letters, he found one addressed to him in the same poor scrawl that Prussia was known for. Austria tore through the envelope to check the contents inside. Two more white keys found themselves in his hand. He bit his tongue to keep back a curse before he pulled out the next note.
"A, a letter for Awesome, not silly Österreich. I would give you more letters if you were only more Freundlich." Roderich could almost hear the writer reciting it to him. He clenched his fist over the letter, crumpling it in his hand as he gridded his teeth. Prussia would rue the day he tried this; He was determined to see to that.
"Bruder...Vhy are zere suddenly two pianos at our house?" Germany asked as he stared at his older brother, who was sprawled out on one of the benches.
The albino cackled before sitting up. He patted the intact piano, the one that was not normally there. "You and priss are always saying zat I should learn to do something constructive," Gilbert joked.
Ludwig sighed. He took a closer look at their piano before noticing that it was missing a few keys. "Do I even vant to ask?" Before Prussia could answer, he about-faced and left the room.
A yellow chick fluttered in as he exited. It landed on one of the piano keys, making it sing out on a sharp key. Gilbert greeted his friend jubilantly before giving him a light pat on the head. "Did you deliver it?" he asked. His bird friend tweeted, wings flapping as if to ask why he would need to question his abilities. This merely made the albino laugh once again.
He stood up then. His feathered friend took up residence on his head while he strolled through the house. Prussia retreated to his room. He skillfully avoided the mess of clothes and trash on his floor to locate his dresser. It was mostly bare do to the fact that its contents were scattered around the room, which made it easy to find what he was looking for.
It was gingerly wrapped in white silk. The Prussian tugged at the ends to reveal a well taken care of flute. Had it not been a gift from Fritz, he never would have even bothered with it. He did not have the love for music that his sought after prize did, but it had always made his previous ruler smile so to see him play it.
However, Fritz had long ago perished. In fact, it may have been better that way. It kept the man from having to live through the second World War. The one that ultimately ended in the dissolving of the Kingdom of Prussia, Königreich Preußen.
Gilbert redrew this lost memory for a different reason today. It wasn't to remember a person dear to him. No, this time, it would be used to catch the attention of a certain someone.
Roderich could never remember a time in which he was this anxious. He had to grasp at sanity as best as he could, but it was proving to be near impossible. Although he was a musician to many instruments, none of them sounded as sweet as his piano. They only made him miss her more. When music could not sooth his nerves, he had tried cooking. The cake that he had been attempting to make ended up burned past the point of edibility. His home had already been cleaned two days prior, but he had yet to tend to his garden. Although he did have staff around the house, this was a chore he preferred to do himself.
Starting on the side of the music room window, the same window that Prussia always used to enter uninvited, Austria instantly noticed the morning glories that had been pulled away. The few of them left had bloomed into nice blue bell shaped flowers that morning, but a few lay tattered on the ground unable to bloom. There could be no other explanation for how his plants had been defiled. Gilbert had been there.
Due to the lack of climbing plants to replace the ones he had lost, the pianist started to clip his hedges. Each closing of the sheers was emphasized by the angry slice against the overgrown limbs. He worked with great speed to do this with all of the shrubs around the house. While he started snapping on the final section, a startled bird darted out of the bushes. Austria wasted no time stepping off to the side.
The bird's shuffling cause a white something to tumble out of the bushes. His brows drew together as the Austrian bent down to pick whatever it was up. If he had not startled the bird, he would have never found it. His breathing halted as he turned the envelope over. It was another one of Gilbert's notes. How long did he plan on keeping this up? Until all the keys were gone from his piano?
The usual ivory keys were found on the inside along with a note. This recent one read, "Your grade level to me, nothing more than a D. You can't even C what's in this for me."
Judging on the note, he could only assume that the keys he held in his other hand along with the envelope were the D and the C of the basic scale as had been true to all the other notes and keys. It was the only logical reason as to why Gilbert had bothered to use letters from the scale or underline ones in words. Roderich had to admit that it was a rather clever method, but as usual, the albino's skills with poetry left a great deal to be desired.
He pocketed everything before finishing up on his work. A few more snips and his trimming was done. No longer feeling the need to garden either, the musician retreated inside again to his music room. He had taken the previous keys he had received and arranged them on the floor to begin to look like his original keyboard. The C that he had now was the middle C. He placed the D he had received right next to it. A space had been skipped to leave space for the E he had yet to receive so following it was the F. The black key that he had been given was set against the F. G was skipped and the empty space was followed by the A, B, and high C that he had. Two more ivory keys and the scale would be complete.
Austria returned to his bed early that evening. He felt unbelievably exhausted and it seemed like a fair way to halt his worries for a few more hours until he would awaken again. Despite how stressed he had been, he slept peacefully, or so the Prussian observed. Roderich had curled up on his side underneath the few thin layers of covers he had. His glasses sat on the nearby nightstand neatly folded. Without them, the musician looked younger somehow. Gilbert forgot about his mission for a moment as he watched the brunette's chest rise and fall with each slow and steady breath.
When the Austrian started to shift in his sleep, it broke him out of his trance. Sure that he was asleep, Prussia hurried out of the room and into Roderich's sanctuary. He spotted the keys that he had so carefully pried from the piano he had at home and it made him snicker loudly. So much trouble had been caused over the lack of piano. It would soon be over though. He had the final ransom note in his pocket and he had the perfect wake up call.
His tongue ran out to smooth over his lower lip before he rested the flute there. He played the first note and recognized it to be too sharp. Prussia rolled the mouth piece away some, continuing to blow into it until he was as close in key as he could manage. Satisfied, he smirked lightly before adjusting his fingers to play the first note of the piece. He inhaled before exhaling in a gentle stream of air that was transformed into sweet sounds by the instrument.
The song he was playing was usually played by a whole band of instruments. However, it could be played by a flute even though it may have sounded soft and sweet due to the nature of the instrument. Regardless, he knew that Austria would still recognize it as his fingers moved with a grace that the other man was likely unaware of him having. It had received its name after the Prussian victory over the allied Austrians and Saxons at the Battle of Hohenfriedberg during Second Silesian War after all.
Roderich groaned in his sleep before rolling over onto his other side. His eyes cracked open as he listened to the sound of a flute cutting through the silence in his house. He brought his brows together in question as he listened. It took only a few more notes piercing the silence for him to figure out what song was being played, Der Hohenfriedberg, a song rumored to have been composed by Fredrick the II of Prussia, which could only mean that said nation was playing it. This now made two stabs at his pride, two stabs that he would not stand for.
Retrieving his glasses from the nightstand, Austria rose to his feet. He placed them on his face again before strolling out of his room, song as his guide. Der Hohenfriedberg lead him the whole way to the other end of his house and into his music room. His footsteps were quiet as he padded along, but still, when he had finally made it there, the sound had stopped and the only thing left to signal Prussia's being there was another envelope and the keys that had been scattered out of their order.
Roderich bent over to pick up the envelope before he tore it open. He found the last two keys he needed to complete the scale. It was then that he read over the note. "Gilbert before God, see what I did there? E'll tell you what the ransom is and trust me, it's fair." Interesting, Gilbert had punned lightly on his heavy accent while writing.
He searched in vain for some sign on the letter of where Gilbert might be headed. The scattered piano keys only told him that Gilbert had hurriedly gone out the window. Austria thought about going over and out of it to chase him, despite how fast the other nation was in comparison to himself. No sooner had the thought left his mind when he heard the flute start up again. He gridded his teeth before going to the window. Gilbert stood a fair distance back from the window to be in the middle of his range of sight. There was laughter in his crimsons, the same ones that caught the light of night to look predatory and at the same time enchanting.
If his piano were not the only thing on his mind at the time, Roderich might have even allowed himself to watch for a few moments longer as he took note to the sudden grace in the albino's small finger movements. However, it was the only thing on his mind at the time so he nervously sat on the windowsill before turning to awkwardly set his foot on the first step of lattice works. He slammed his eyes shut, deathly afraid of losing his balance as he descended. The violets were not opened again until his bare feet touched the ground, the dirt cold against his skin.
Again the music had stopped and Gilbert was gone. Austria brought his brows together in question as he turned his head back and forth to search again for the albino. He tugged at the navy jacket that he had never taken off before going to bed. At least he had been too exhausted to change, it would likely save him against the coolness of the evening.
After a few minutes, he gave up and started to head toward his front door. Once more, Prussia started to play the flute. He smirked against the mouth piece as he saw how easily it drew the Austrian to him. He felt like the pied piper, minus the rats and the brats.
Instead of taking his time in approaching Prussia, Austria ran after him. The other nation seemed to read that he was going to pick up speed though because he instantly turned again to run. Music carried back as Gilbert continued to play while running until he ran out of the breath to sustain the feat. Roderich huffed as he did his best to push himself faster, but he stood no chance. Gilbert ran like a machine, each step as equally powerful and fast as the last. He may have actually stood a chance in a race against Italy.
The Prussian pied piper lead his catch into the city. He made sure to slow his pace then, knowing how said catch had absolutely no sense of direction. They must have looked ridiculous, him jogging with a flute clutched tightly to his frame, Austria with bed hair and bare feet running after as he started to yell for the albino. Then again, it would have only been the priss that would have cared what he looked like running through the streets of Vienna in such an "undignified" manner.
"Gilbert!" Roderich huffed. His lungs burned as he forced breath into them. He had never been built for this kind of long distance running, but Gilbert, who had been fighting most of his life, did not seem to falter at all.
"Gilbert!" he tried once again. His steps slowed as he started to lose his willpower. He needed to catch him in order to find the whereabouts of his piano, but his body protested. Luckily, Prussia seemed to know this as he had slowed again before darting into a nearby hotel.
Austria forced himself to travel through the glass doors into the building. He saw the albino head for the stairs and he quickly followed him up them, keeping a hand to the railing on the off case that his legs finally gave out on him. Gilbert exited on the third floor before finally retreating into a room. The pianist opened the door onto the floor just in time to see which room he had disappeared behind. He hurried toward it before knocking.
"Ja~?" Prussia purred as he opened the door a crack. He grinned like a madman as he watch the brunette huff and puff, hands on his knees. Even Mariazell, the one wild strand in what was usually wavy and "sophisticated" looking hair, seemed to become limp as he strained to return oxygen into his lungs.
When he could finally breath again, Roderich stood up straight. He brushed himself off as if he were somehow dirty before returning to addressing Prussia as he usually did, haughty and superior. "Gilbert, where is my piano?" he demanded to know.
"Klavier, Klavier," Gilbert repeated as if the word puzzled him. He shook his head. "Ich habe eine Flöte. Ich habe kein Klavier~" he teased, holding up the flute he had been playing before.
"Let me in," Austria finally growled. The door created unneeded distance and he could not see the inside, not that he thought his piano had been stashed on the third floor of a hotel.
"Say it," Prussia countered.
Roderich gave an exasperated sigh. He had no time for this. It was the middle of the night for goodness sake. He wanted to know where his piano was before he returned to bed. He could retrieve it in the morning. "Bitte?" he breathed, hating to have to beg the albino to let him in.
Triumph lit up in the albino's eyes. He never thought it would have been that easy to get Austria to say that word. If he had known, he would have pulled a stunt like this sooner. Prussia opened the door before motioning with a hand for Austria to come in. Roderich begrudgingly nodded his thanks before entering. With that, Prussia started to play again before pushing his back against the door.
"Vould you stop that?" Austria snapped, tired of that song, a song that had marked victory over him so long ago, back when Prussia still existed. Prussia went on, resting his back against the door as he played. Another huff came from the aristocrat before he held up the letter that he had pocketed before jumping out his window. "Vat is it that you vant from me?"
With a loud sounding of his unique laugh, Prussia snatched the letter from Roderich. He held up two fingers as he prepared to tell him the conditions for revealing the whereabouts of his piano. "Five thousand to pay for our old piano," Gilbert replied, letting one finger close down against his palm, leaving his index the only one up.
"Y-your piano?" Roderich asked, brows knitting together in question. He knew that Ludwig and Gilbert owned a piano, but he had no idea how that was relevant.
"Ja, vhere did you think I got all those keys? Kesesesese~"
His eyes widened. The keys hadn't been from his piano? That meant that it was still in one piece. His lips fell into a thin line. He supposed he would have to pay that fee if he wanted the return of his piano. "Now tell me vhere it is...and how you managed to get it out of my house," Roderich demanded.
Gilbert clicked his tongue and shook his head. "I'm not finished, Priss~" he sang. "But, I vill tell you than Franny und Tonio helped me."
Well, that would certainly make more sense. Gilbert would have been able to distract him while France and Spain could have found a way to remove the piano from the music room and have it out of the house before Roderich had returned to it later that day.
"Vat do you vant from me?" the pianist repeated in his desperation. He wanted his torture to end. He wanted his piano.
Prussia grinned before setting down his flute on the nearby table. He advanced toward Roderich and Roderich instantly took the steps back that would keep distance between them. If at all possible, Gilbert managed to grin wider, never stopping in his advance. Austria soon had to stop, his back hitting the wall as he became cornered prey. He winced, not sure what to expect. "Was willst du noch von mir?" he pleaded.
A hand propped itself up on the wall to the left side of his head. Austria heard it hit the wall and he closed his eyes, waiting. He felt hot breath on his ear and he willed himself to not shiver against it. "I vant you to stop paying attention to zat damn piano," Gilbert growled.
Austria opened his eyes. They were wide with a deep confusion. Was Gilbert...jealous of his piano? Yes, he knew how he treated it, how he made it seem, but he had never expected Gilbert to end up jealous because of it. Gilbert didn't have reason to aside from his need to be the center of attention.
Gilbert paused and pulled back to watch the emotion flood to the aristocrat's face. Expressions such as these were rare and he had to admit that he loved every minute of it because he had caused the chaos. Coming back though, he smirked against the Austrian's ear, enjoying the shiver that traveled through Roderich before finally giving his other condition. "Ich will dich..." he whispered.
Before Roderich had time to respond, Prussia made sure to smoother the answer, the possibility of rejection. He had slid the hand from the wall to Roderich's cheek before tilting his head back as he pressed his lips again the pianist's.
Hands came to his chest at first to push him away. Little force came from it and Gilbert was able to keep his footing. The albino bit down on Austria's bottom lip and in turn, Austria gasped, fingers curling into the fabric of Gilbert's shirt. He was surprisingly reserved about it, waiting until Roderich finally succumbed to his charm and slowly came to respond.
It almost seemed oddly compliant with how quickly it happened. The albino almost wanted more of a struggle, but the brunette seemed to be happily trapped between him and the wall. He certainly was not going to change that now that he finally had him. Now that he did have a partner instead of a cut out, Gilbert sped it up, making it something much deeper. The response only made him anxious, but due to lack of breath he had to pull away.
Austria huffed, clearly flustered. His face heated as he stared up the few inches of height difference between them. Only Gilbert could look that pleased with himself. He opened his mouth to say something clever, but it died out as kisses were trailed up his neck, some of them more rough and made of more teeth and tongue than lips. His hands clenched tighter against the black cloth in his hands until his knuckles were white and his hands shook.
"Gilbert," he breathed. The Prussian halted to stare at him dumbly, clearly not sure what more he could be capable of wanting at the moment. Roderich had his undivided attention, what more could he want? "Vhere's my piano?"
Gilbert nearly groaned. Only Austrian could manage to be that much of a kill joy and still look adorably bothered. "My house," he said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. He stared at Austria then as if to ask if he could continue or not.
Roderich nodded slowly, taking the answer. However, it was taken to be an answer to Gilbert's gaze and he had stolen up his lips again. His violets slid shut and he complied to a monstrous desire built up over several hundred years.
"Ich will dich lieben..." Gilbert added when he had pulled away. He pressed a surprisingly chaste kiss to the Austrian's forehead after pushing a few stray hairs out of the way. Even though his first reaction was to doubt that Gilbert could ever comprehend such an emotion, Roderich believed him. He so desperately had to because it was the only way he could describe how he felt at that exact moment and he wanted those feelings to be returned.
Kuchen - cake
Österreich - Austria
Freundlich - friendly
Bruder - Brother
Königreich Preußen - Kingdom of Prussia
Ja - Yes
Klavier, Klavier - Piano, Piano
Ich habe eine Flöte. Ich habe kein Klavier. - I have a flute. I have no piano.
Bitte? - Please?
Was willst du noch von mir? - What do you want from me?
Ich will dich - I want you.
Ich will dich lieben - I want to love you.
I apologize to anyone who tried to read this as soon as I posted it up. It's taken me forever to get this up and I was just so excited that I forgot to put in the translations. They are all in now at the bottom of the page as you can see.
Anyway, a friend of mine gave me this idea the one day and I loved it. I had so much fun writing this. At times I would pause and have to think about what I wanted them to do, but I'm incredibly pleased with this piece of work. For those of you who are wondering how Francis and Antonio managed to get the piano out without Roderich noticing, I leave that to your imagination. Also, what happened after what I have written is up to you.