Thanks to Arkham Insanity for the inspiration. I don't watch Hetaila and so the characters are all from her work and the fanfictions I have read (Is it weird to read and write fanfiction from an anime you've never watched?). Hope you enjoy! Please feel free to comment too :3
'Gilbert! What happened to you?'
The young country winced at the sound of his guardian, the man's voice strained with worry. He wiped at his nose quickly, trying unsuccessfully to hide the evidence of blood there. Even if he had a rapidly swelling eye and his ripped clothing were enough to tell Old Fritz that the boy had been fighting. Again.
'Er, it's nothing, gramps,' Prussia turned away from the man but Frederick's hand fell on his shoulder and turned the boy around to face him.
The king bent down and took hold of Prussia's chin, turning it this way and that, surveying the damage. With surprise he saw his young ward's eyes were red from tears, not something that usually accompanied a fight with the warrior nation.
'Are you hurt much?' he asked in real concern.
Gilbert yanked his chin away, a blush appearing on his pale cheeks. 'No, just... I fell, that's all... on the stairs.'
'Hmm?' Frederick said, his eyebrow rising in disbelief. He reached down and took up one of Prussia's hands, inspecting the knuckles. 'Looks like you gave the stairs a good fight.'
The boy pulled his hand out of his guardian's grasp and hid them both behind his back. He bent his head, biting his lip and knowing he was in deep trouble.
'Well, Gilbert?' Old Fritz's voice was calm and gentle, but Prussia had been on the receiving end of enough lectures to know when the man was angry.
He stayed quiet for a while, trying to organise his thoughts. His body still rushed with the confused anger that had started all this and it was hard to concentrate.
Frederick waited patiently, knowing from experience that it was best to give the young nation time to think before he blurted out something in frustration that got him even deeper into trouble. He had no desire to punish Gilbert for more than he was already guilty of and pouring oil onto the boy's obvious anger would not help matters.
'Old man..?' Prussia said eventually, he blushed and ducked his head. 'What... what does shwul mean?'
Old Fritz bit back a gasp, becoming very still as he observed the boy. 'Where did you hear that word?' he asked. 'What was the context?'
Prussia, on seeing that his guardian wasn't immediately angry at hearing the word, relaxed slightly. 'I know it means hot and sweaty and all that but it was the way he said it, like it meant something else, something mean,' he said desperately.
'Well, yes, it does,' Fritz said sighing and placing his hands on the boy's shoulders. 'Did someone call you that? Is that why you fought them?'
Gilbert dithered once more; obviously it wasn't the whole story. 'Well, he said-'
'Wait,' Frederick cut the boy off. 'Before that I want you to tell me who it was.'
'Will they be in trouble?' Gilbert asked. 'I already beat them up.'
'Yes, we'll get to that later,' Fritz letting a little sternness enter his tone and seeing the boy wince. 'But after this I'm going to have to apologise to someone's father, so tell me; who was it?'
After a brief struggle of conscience Gilbert sighed. 'Gustav Roth,' he muttered.
Fritz knew the name; it belonged to one of the aristocratic families of Prussia, a Junker, and one that had rebelled during his father's reign. There was bad blood between the houses of Roth and Hohenzollern and today's skirmish had most likely not helped matters. The boy's father, Otto, was a man with a nasty reputation.
'Very well, continue,' he said, trying to keep calm.
'He was trying to bully me,' Gilbert said defensively. 'But I listened to what you said; about not getting angry when someone says something bad about the awesome me-'
'So why was this different?'
Gilbert flushed red and chewed on his lip some more. 'They started saying things about... about you.'
Fritz wasn't surprised; he had suspected this from the moment the hateful word had been uttered. 'Did you understand what he was saying?'
With surprise Frederick saw that tears were welling up again in the boy's eyes. Gilbert evidently didn't trust himself to speak but shook his head silently. Obviously what had been said had affected the boy, enough to drive him to violence after almost a year of peaceful behaviour.
Gilbert sniffed, feeling wretched. He knew he had disappointed the old man by fighting when he had promised faithfully not to, and he felt stupid for not even really knowing why. The hate in Gustav's words had been enough. And now Fritz was going to spank him, he hated getting spanked! He was too old and far too awesome for that!
All of a sudden he felt himself being drawn up into a hug. His eyes widened in surprise and his cheeks reddened as Frederick squeezed him tight for a few precious moments before pulling away and looking down at the boy with a smile.
'Gilbert, I want to thank you. You defended my honour today. I know I've ordered you not to fight unless we're at war, and I don't condone what you did, but I want you to know that I understand your feelings entirely.'
Speechless Gilbert could only nod.
'Now, I don't ever want to hear you saying that word,' his guardian said. 'It's mean and ugly and hurtful. I think you know that already.'
Prussia nodded vigorously.
Frederick sighed. 'Go to your room, Gilbert. You're confined there for the rest of the week and you'll be writing a letter of apology to Gustav and his father.'
'I can't apologise to him!' the young nation sputtered indignantly.
'You can and you will,' Fritz said sternly. 'A gentleman always apologises when he has done wrong, even if it followed extreme provocation. Now no more arguing or it will be two weeks!'
The king span his young ward around and planted a firm swat on the boy's backside. 'That was for lying to me,' he said in amusement at Gilbert's shocked face, smiling as the nation composed himself and dashed off down the hall, glad no doubt to be getting away with such a light punishment. Then Frederick's smile faded away. He still had Roth to deal with.