Dissolution. It's just sugar-coating death. When one's country is gone, 'dissolved', as the allies and their bosses would kindly label it, then the representative exists only in history. When the people, whose heartbeats you could hear in your own mind suddenly disappear, what do you do?
Prussia knew this would happen, but wasn't sure when. He was prepared, though.
Ever since the Berlin wall collapsed and East and West Germany merged, the fair-skinned ex-nation knew that his days were numbered. He hid his apprehension behind smiles and an inflated ego, and disguised his growing anxiety with cheap beer, vodka and German cigarettes.
His brother and friends blamed the man's change in attitude on their snowy neighbour, Russia. Others, such as Russia himself, simply ignored the accusations sent their way. As the German people continued to merge into a more unified Germany, Prussia could feel his heart being ripped into shreds, one citizen at a time. The abnormal transfer of souls from one's consciousness to another; for the receiver, it's pure bliss. For the pillaged, it's like having a foundation ripped out from under you. His brother never had to experience such cruel pain; since he was receiving new citizens, he was on cloud nine, quite unlike his brother. While Germany busied himself with paperwork and bubbly Italians, Prussia locked himself up in his room during all hours of the day, writhing in pain.
When a country's dissolved, they change both mentally and physically. When the consciences of the citizens change mediums, the original will act completely out of character, and would snap out at another nation, unprovoked or not, were they not held back by their physical despair. The sense of abandon rears its ugly head and takes its victim kicking and screaming into the innermost depths of their mind, leaving insanity to fill in the gaps.
As the nation loses more and more citizens and land, two very different things happen: pain and change. Their heart will start to shatter; each segmented fragment will represent someone lost. The pieces will then stab violently at whatever remains, causing even more to be relinquished. At this point, there is absolutely no sanctuary for the victim.
When a country gains territory, men, or power, they change drastically. The reverse is also true. The more a country loses, the more feeble they become. They lose a stick-straight posture, lose the strength to tow vehicles, and if it gets too bad, they are eventually unable to control their limbs and waste away wherever they fell. It would last until their body can no longer function and they end up dying.
Prussia was no exception to these rules. He could feel his sanity slipping away quite quickly, now. His physical trauma was not far behind. He had locked his door ages ago and stayed in his bed. His legs and arms felt too heavy to move, but the pain in his chest urged him to curl up in a ball anyway. It was humane instinct, to curl up into fetal position to abate as much pain as possible.
He had absolutely no notion of time any more. The battery of the clock on the wall was weeks dead. He realized with dread, however, that his suffering was coming to a close. And not in a good way; things would only get worse from here. If he could pass on with just a shred of his sanity intact, however... he would then die happy.
The one thing he would regret is not telling his brother; while he was powerful, proud, intelligent, and hard-working, Germany was in no way experienced with nation deaths. He childishly thought that his brother would be here forever, that nothing bad could ever happen to big brother Prussia.
Well, West, looks like you were wrong. Prussia would have scoffed had he the energy.
Now that he thought about it, just how long had it been since he had last seen Germany? He knew the blonde was fine. Hell, if he didn't have any restraint, he would have probably had a grand gala and would have invited all of Europe to the gathering.
There was minute comfort in knowing that the younger couldn't feel what his brother felt; hopefully, Germany would be the last representative of the Germanic people for a long time. Over the years, the place had four or five nations to represent their people. Now united, Germany was hopefully the last.
As the Prussian laid in his bed and reflected on the past, present, and future, he failed to hear the frantic knocking of his brother at the door. Or, rather, all of his senses were increasingly dulled, so now he was practically deaf.
When Germany finally had enough of the silence emanating from his brother's room, he tore the handle off of its perch and slammed the door wide open. At first, his eyes gleamed with irritation at being interrupted from his blissful sanctuary in his office – but when Italy had burst in, more or less demanding that Germany check on his brother (whom neither had seen for over three days), the blonde ended up having to give in. Now, as he saw the pitiful state his brother was in, the annoyance quickly evaporated into worry and he was at Prussia's side in an instant, rolling him over so they could meet eye-to-eye. As he was flipped around, a whine rose in the elder's throat and escaped in a pathetic burst of pain. He tried to curl up into a tighter ball but Germany took his hands and stretched them out, trying to figure out where it hurt the most, and he wouldn't be able to properly check with the albino's limbs in the way.
He could see his brother shouting something, but everything sounded distant and jumbled. It was like he was suspended in water, and any noise around him was muffled while the weight of the Earth from above pushed on his chest. It was almost serene, as it felt like the pain, which had been unbearable earlier, was finally tamed just enough for Prussia to move a little bit.
In ignoring his brother's frantic questions (What's wrong? Are you okay? Where does it hurt?), Prussia found the energy to snap a foot out at his brother to roll over. He pressed his face into the pillow, already warm from his body heat, and murmured 'go away' before trying to sink deeper in the bed. He didn't want his brother around right now, and if Germany couldn't respect that then Prussia would kindly show him the way out.
Germany, in the meantime, didn't know what to do. Prussia's foot caught him in the side of the head but the blonde barely felt anything. It felt like there was absolutely no energy behind the flailing limb. Which, of course, prodded Germany to worry even more. For as long as he could remember, his big brother always had energy to spare. To see Prussia in such a deplorable state was ridiculously alarming.
When Germany failed to follow his brother's muffled commands, Prussia could feel the anger welling up in his chest. He was dying and his stupid, stubborn little brother couldn't leave him alone for a few measly hours? Since he lacked the energy to kindly tell his brother to get the fuck out, he instead opted to press his face harder into the pillow, thinking that maybe if Germany thought he was trying to suffocate himself he would listen and go away.
Still no dice. This only served as the catalyst of Prussia being treated like a bag of potatoes. He was hefted upwards by the waist and ended up being perched on the edge of the bed, with Germany standing in front of him trying to figure out what the problem was. He had both hands on his brother's shoulders and Prussia was leaning forward ever so slightly. Throughout this, Prussia kept his eyes shut tight, knowing that the vibrant ruby hues that he used to be blessed with would be dulled and, hell, for all he knew, he was blind now.
"Brother, look at me."The strong, deep tenor of Germany's vocals cords rumbled in pleads, still muffled by Prussia's jaded hearing. He whined a soft 'no', refusing to face what could make or break his resolve about actually being alone.
He could feel the stress building up in his chest now, right next to the stabbing of his heart. But this was a different kind of throbbing, it was more of an emotional throb. The throbbing one feels when they're anxious, nervous, or just way too excited about something. And right now, his anxiety about Germany finding out just what was happening was becoming unbearable.
Two things happened at the same time.
First, Germany removed his hands from their shoulder-y perch to rub his temples in exasperation. His hands never reached the intended temples, instead stuck catching the Prussian who had suddenly tilted forward, his hair just barely brushing against Germany's jacket.
Then, Prussia suddenly burst out crying and sputtering and repeating one single, obscure phrase in a quiet, shaky voice that was notably unlike the way that he normally spoke. This embarrassed the younger greatly; he was very awkward when it came to comforting in the first place and he had just gotten used to it with Italy, who tended to have an emotional outburst at least once a day.
But his brother was different. In all of his memories, Germany could recall only one other time when his brother shed tears. Even when his brother had come back after the wall was knocked down, while Germany could feel his own tears building up, not a single tear had been shed by the albino. He grinned, hugged his brother, and loudly announced that he'd pay for all of the beer that night. And it was so Gilbert that Germany never thought about it.
But the quaking mass in his arms- was it actually his brother? He seemed so small and breakable- he was almost afraid to move anywhere. His throat had constricted itself and Germany could barely force the words out of his mouth before Prussia started sobbing harder.
"Please, Prussia, please tell me what's wrong!"
"No! You'll..." The rest of the phrase was muffled beyond recognition thanks to the coat that Prussia had pushed his face against. Germany took his brother's shoulders and pushed them back to face startled ruby irises. They quickly blinked themselves shut while Prussia whined inconsolably once more. He seemed to be absolutely mental today- one second he was trying to kick his brother out of the room and the next he was a sobbing mess. While still worried, Germany also felt the tell-tale need of a cold beer. He pushed his brother back on the bed (and Prussia curled into himself instantly) and told him he was leaving, just like the elder wanted.
And then Prussia was wailing even harder, constantly trying to tell him he was sorry, that he was a horrible big brother, but please, don't leave him alone. And he was quite suddenly blubbering nonsensically, but the words 'I'm sorry I'm dying' stood solidly out of the background. And when Prussia realized just what he said, he fell eerily silent, his eyes wide open, gauging his brother's reaction. Germany stood there, horror-struck for several seconds before he suddenly enveloped Prussia in a tight hug and refused to let go.
"Please, just- just don't talk." Germany relished in the feeling of simply being near his brother, not wanting to miss another second of being with him. Initially tensing, Prussia slowly relaxed in his brother's hold, and it was like he could feel his sanity returning somewhat with his brother there. Simply being near someone- maybe that's what was helping. His heart hadn't clenched painfully, either, which was a blessing in itself. It was too soon for him to say he was going to be okay, but maybe he'd be able to die with Germany next to him.
It lasted several moments of the two sitting there, with Prussia's eyes puffy and red but hidden, and Germany simply holding on to his brother, before the younger of the two spoke up.
"How long?" Prussia lifted his face from its perch on his brother's shoulder to look Germany in the eye.
"Not long." Right after he said that he dropped his head back down, allowing Germany to play support for a while. There was another lapse of silence, where the red around Prussia's eyes gradually faded back into the pale complexion that was normal for his brother. Germany, in the meantime, was mulling over this information. He unconsciously rubbed circles on Prussia's back with one hand while the other kept his brother plastered to him.
His brother was dying.His big brother, who had spent twenty years under Russian rule to protect the younger blonde, was going to be dead soon. Which meant that, instead of East and West Germany, there would be one single, unified Germanic nation. Was Germany unconsciously killing his own brother? Stuck in his own mind, he failed to notice that his brother had looked up again.
Prussia tapped Germany's cheek lightly, startling the burly blonde enough to make him jump a little. He blinked rapidly to clear his head and curled his arms tighter around his brother. He didn't want to lose him yet- not ever. Maybe if he stayed here forever, Prussia would have no choice but to stay... it was a childish desire, but Germany was young by nation standards and was in no way ready to part with his elder brother-mentor-father-figure, whatever he was.
"Stop thinking so hard West... it'll just make things harder for the both of us." And I don't want your crying face to be the last thing I see. It wasn't something that his pride allowed him to voice, but Germany seemed to understand what Prussia was hinting at when the albino wiped away the tears that were preparing to make themselves known with a quivering hand. He sniffed meekly once before sobering up.
"So, um... I'm sorry." Prussia blinked stupidly at his brother's admission and cocked his head to the side.
"For what, West?" Germany bit his lip guiltily and turned away, murmuring in a deep tenor,
"For... ignoring you."
The throaty chuckle of his brother caught him off guard, and Germany snapped his head back around in confusion. Prussia's eyes were closed and he was leaning against his brother's chest, but he was laughing gleefully and Germany found that this kind of upset him. When Prussia opened his eyes once more and looked up at his brother, they seemed filled with so much more life than they held in the past years.
"Don't worry about it, West." The brothers sat in silence for a while longer, until Prussia's heart clenched once more. Germany felt his brother stiffen below him and he hugged him tight. He rocked the two of them back and forth gently, while humming silently. After a bit more time where Prussia was still tense, the elder uneasily pulled away from the younger.
"You can stay if you want, West, but- I just need to lay down." He set his own head down on the pillow and curled back into a ball, closing his eyes and breathing deeply.
"I'm not going anywhere." Germany remained perched on the bed and took one of Prussia's hands, where he gently rubbed the back of it. His brother relaxed beneath the welcoming touch, Germany's own lids slipping shut for a few moments.
After another lapse of silence, Prussia spoke up once more.
"I didn't want to see you, y'know that?" Germany paused in the gentle rubbing to peer at Prussia. The albino's eyes were cloudy, and his lids constantly fluttered as he fought to stay awake and survive.
"And why is that?" Prussia pursed his lips and hummed lightly, not bothering to answer the inquiry. Instead, he closed his eyes and buried his nose into the pillow. Germany, still feeling slightly put-off by his brother's behaviour, but knew that it was acceptable, considering their situation, shimmied slightly closer to his brother. Both began humming quietly to an old German tune; one that Prussia used to sing to Germany.
There was no noise apart from that for a long time. After about twenty minutes, however, Prussia's steady humming had fallen into silence. When Germany finally noticed, his brother was on his back and staring at the ceiling. His eyes were glazed over, his sightless gaze half-lidded.
It felt like his heart was shattering. Tears gathered at the corners of his eyes as he slid off the bed and knelt next to it instead. He took one of Prussia's hands and held it between his, sniffling slightly as the tears cascaded freely down his face.
He was frustrated. Frustrated and confused. He knew his brother wasn't a saint – none of them were, really. So why did his brother have to be the one to die? He wasn't the one responsible for any great massacres, or starting any wars. So why did it have to be Prussia? Why was it him that had to suffer? Germany inhaled shakily, his own breath hitching when his brother's sightless eyes met his own with precise accuracy.
"H-hey now... is my little West crying?" His voice was so quiet, it was like he was gone already. Taken away to wherever the other ancients were. Would he be ridiculed, for dying so young? Pitied? Would he be happy? Germany truly hoped so; Prussia was an amazing elder brother.
And he told him so.
Prussia cracked a weak smile and squeezed one of Germany's hands slightly. The younger blonde responded with a squeeze just as tight, himself trying to smile, despite his brother's recent lack of vision. Another pair of hands came up next to his and circled themselves around; they were significantly smaller than Germany's own, or even Prussia's.
He looked over to see Italy, who was smiling silently despite the tears running down his eyes. Prussia, too, seemed to have felt the Italian's presence as he tilted his head around slightly; in the wrong direction, which he quickly rectified when Italy spoke up, own voice quiet and smooth. He was far too used to losing people.
"Is it already time for you to go?" Germany bit his lip and lowered his head; he knew the response, but didn't want to see his brother's face when he said it. Prussia had simply accepted it by now. He knew the outcome wasn't going to change.
"... yeah. Take care of West for me, okay? I can't... won't be around to keep an eye on him. So you need to make sure that he gets out sometimes..." His voice trailed off as his smile faded slightly.
"Of course." With a grateful sigh, Prussia took to staring straight ahead once more as Germany fought to regain his composure, and ultimately failed. Instead, he cried against his brother's and Italy's hands.
Time passed silently. Italy was the first to notice.
Prussia's chest had stopped its steady rise and fall, his eyes no longer blinked sluggishly. The smile had died on his lips slightly, leaving a bit of an awkward curve rather than the weak grin he originally had. Silently, the brunette reached over and closed his eyes gently. Germany, startled by Italy's sudden movement, finally noticed his brother. How his heart no longer beat, how his lungs no longer moved.
His sobs died in his throat and he stared as Italy closed his eyes. Those unseeing ruby irises, staring into a void like only the dead could... he couldn't stand it. He looked away, and allowed his brother's hand to flop onto the bed – limp as a ragdoll. Silently, Italy took his arm and splayed the fingers across his stomach; it seemed more like he was sleeping. After all, Prussia didn't die. Couldn't die.
Italy turned to Germany, and quietly hugged the grieving blonde. Immediately he was hugged to his chest, the blonde sobbing into the smaller male's shirt.
"Ve, it's okay..." He quietly rubbed the German's back as he began to babble nonsensically about his brother. He was in such a state of shock that it broke Italy's heart; he wasn't made to break; but here he was. Broken, trembling, sobbing Germany. Italy hugged him tight and stood up with the German, quietly bringing him out to the living room where he sat him down, but not before taking one last glace back at the deceased nation. He quietly leaned over to call Austria, as the German nation buried himself deeper into Italy's side.