A/N : Unlike my others, this story is meant to be fairly fast-paced, corny, and not to be taken all that seriously. Think of this more as a B-movie good time.
Pairing : Russia x Germany. Other characters included are : Prussia, Lithuania, Belarus, Austria, Hungary, Spain, and France. If you're wondering, in almost all of my stories, Roderich is ALWAYS an ambassador. That's like my head cannon. XD
Warnings! : AU. Human characters. Set in former East Prussia in 1946. Violence, language, illegal activities, Russian mafia, homicide, bribery, extortion, etc. The usual things you can expect from me. Since I made Russia so batshit insane in the other one, I decided to tap into his...erhm...sweeter side, if you will, in this one. Some historical facts may be incorrect and/or distorted for my own personal gain.
ALSO : Yes, I am fully aware that the Russian mafia did not thrive at all until the fall of the Soviet Union and communism, and was practically just a bunch of prison thugs before that. Please refer to the last sentence in the paragraph directly above. :D
I am dedicating this story to Sanguocrazy, whose crazy fan girl rants and awesome support help me out so much in pushing out Zachem Ya and Acceleration Waltz, and whose one single, simple lament was that Russia and Germany never got to hook up in a 'normal' (read : non Stockholm Syndrome) way, so... No more! This is for you. Thanks for all your kind words. 感謝!
Thanks for reading, and drop a line when you have a minute. Always love to hear from you awesome guys.
NE VER', NE BOISYA
It had been founded in 1255.
Nearly 700 years of history in Königsberg. Seven centuries of castles and monuments and memories, seven centuries as the strong point of Prussia, as the glory of the East, as the model city.
It took the Soviets only one year to wipe it away.
They had lived here their entire lives, and they had seen it in its glorious days, and they had seen it bombed into unrecognizable rubble in the war.
But it had always been Königsberg. It had always been home.
So it didn't seem right, and it didn't seem fair, and it didn't even seem legal when the war ended and the Soviets came and claimed Königsberg as their own, and Ludwig and Gilbert were forced to watch as the flags were torn down and replaced with the Soviet emblem, as the signs were all suddenly written in Cyrillic, and as all of the neighbors were given papers of eviction and forced from the homes they had always known.
The Russians came, and moved into the homes that used to be German.
There was no stopping it, because they had lost the war, and the Russians had won, and that made them wrong and the Russians right.
Ludwig could only watch as Gilbert, always such a proud and vociferous Prussian, Gilbert, who had offered his life willingly for Prussia in the war, fell further and further into depression as the country he loved was dissolved into only a faint memory.
Everyone was gone now.
Only Russians walked the ancient city streets.
They were the only ones left. Or very nearly.
It didn't seem fair.
Gilbert couldn't stand to go outside anymore, and all of the duties of the household had fallen upon Ludwig, who had only just turned eighteen, and the meager salary bestowed upon Gilbert for his service was barely enough to sustain the both of them.
Gilbert just wouldn't move. Ludwig could barely keep his head above the water.
It was frustrating, to watch your home being usurped and to be so helpless. To see the homes around you, which had once been friendly German neighbors, inhabited with Russians who couldn't understand you, and seemed to fear you.
It wasn't easy for Ludwig, but it was so much harder for Gilbert.
When they had been given the first eviction papers, Gilbert had sat down at the table and burst into tears, burying his face in his arms and blubbering to no one, and Ludwig had slipped away and got on the phone, calling on the only resource he had.
The order was cancelled.
A close call.
Maybe it was just part of the Soviet Union now, but Königsberg was still home. Gilbert would die of a broken heart before he abandoned it and let the Russians run him off to where they would.
It just didn't seem fair.
That had been the first year.
Things were getting a little better, and Ludwig had almost gotten used to it, and it was just dumb luck that a few of the Russians who had moved into the city knew a fair bit of German, and he was able to go about things almost normally.
He walked the streets, sometimes, when Gilbert was moping, and seeing the great buildings around him was comforting, even if the people he met were different.
Gilbert had always warned him that the Soviets were dangerous, and that he needed to be careful when he went out, and Ludwig had always brushed him off as bitter and paranoid. Of course Gilbert hated the Russians; he always had, even before the war had started, and when the radio had announced the non-aggression pact, Gilbert had leapt to his feet and tossed the radio across the room in a fit of anger.
Ludwig was leery of them, and maybe he was a little resentful too, but he was not afraid.
But there were times...
Sometimes, when he walked down the streets, it seemed to him that there were eyes following him, and when he looked over his shoulder, there was a tall man, well-groomed and straight-postured, and he was always watching him come and go.
He recognized him, vaguely, as one of the Russians that had moved into the largest house down the street, formerly the German mayor's home, and even though he never spoke, it seemed that Ludwig ran into him far more frequently than what could have just been a statistic.
He always smiled, but Ludwig avoided him nonetheless, brushing past him when they met on the street and speeding his pace when he stood in his doorframe.
Gilbert did not know.
If Ludwig had told him that there was a Russian who seemed to have a habit of popping up wherever he was? Oh, God. Gilbert would have caused a scene.
...like he usually did.
That was why, on the odd occasion that Gilbert did go out, Ludwig stuck firmly at his side, because Gilbert's temper was a very, very short fuse, and so was his self-control.
So they were now, as they walked down the streets, Gilbert's hands tucked in his pockets and head bowed, and Ludwig was at his side, head high. Gilbert just couldn't bear to see the shop signs in Russian, and spent most of the time staring at the sidewalk.
And even though Ludwig enjoyed the times that Gilbert came out of the house...
Today was not a good day.
They walked along, and when they came to the end of the road, they heard the sounds of construction. Gilbert finally looked up, and when he did, he paled so terribly that Ludwig was afraid he would faint.
The great sign at the end of the road, that held the word 'Königsberg' so proudly, was being stripped off.
Before Ludwig could stop him, Gilbert had bolted forward, and kicked the metal post at the bottom. The quiver up the metal made the men stop and look down, and Gilbert barked up at them, "What the hell are ya doin'?"
They hesitated, and then one of them cried, in heavily accented German, "We change sign! You don't know? It's called Kaliningrad now! Pretty name, yeah?"
Then they carried on working as though nothing had happened, having either no care or no knowledge that their words were like daggers.
It wasn't Königsberg anymore.
"You can't do that! Hey! Listen! Hey, you can't fuckin' do that! It's Königsberg!"
Gilbert paced back and forth below them, stomping and shouting and absolutely irate, and Ludwig stood back, staring up at the sign in defeat.
It wasn't Königsberg anymore.
Gilbert kicked the post again, and the man above cried, "Stop it!"
Gilbert didn't, and now his voice was so high that it was cracking, and Ludwig thought that he would burst into tears.
Königsberg, that Gilbert adored.
"But it's not Kaliningrad," Gilbert screeched from below, stomping his foot on the sidewalk as the men above continued to strip the sign of its letters, "It's Königsberg! Hey! Are you listenin'? It's not Kaliningrad!" The name fell from his lips with disgust.
They continued to ignore him, and Ludwig could only watch in silence as Gilbert reached out, grabbing the sign posts with his hands and shaking it as hard as he could. The men above sent him looks of annoyance, but carried on.
"It's Königsberg! Stop! Stop! You can't do this!"
It was no use. There was no stopping it.
It wasn't Königsberg anymore.
It was Kaliningrad now.
...they lived in Kaliningrad now. The word felt foreign and unfriendly on his tongue. Not like home.
Gilbert was becoming hysterical now, kicking the posts over and over again and screaming uselessly. Ludwig finally had no choice but to come over and grab the irate Gilbert's shirt in his hands and tug him back, even though, in all honesty...
He wanted to scream and kick as much as Gilbert.
It hurt him more than anything to see his brother like this, on the verge of a breakdown, as his home and history were erased beneath his feet, but what could they do?
They were lucky to even still be here.
It was made all the more obvious when they passed a familiar police officer on the street on the way back. Police officer, maybe, or maybe he was a KGB officer, sometimes it was hard to tell, but either way it had been him who had served them with those original eviction papers the year before, and it had been him who had hounded them on the streets when they passed, with slurs and foul looks.
He met Gilbert's eyes as Ludwig dragged him by, and he smiled smugly.
"Still here, are you?"
Ludwig shot him a nasty glare, and Gilbert finally fell still, but Ludwig knew that Gilbert's silence was more dangerous than his screeching, and tried to tug him along all the faster.
The house was in sight.
"You two are about the only ones left. Good riddance to German trash, I say," the officer drawled, pencil in hand, and Gilbert bristled so terribly in his arms that Ludwig had to reach out and pinch his side painfully. Gilbert jumped, sent him a stern look, and then bit his tongue, ducking his head and grumbling something unintelligible.
An assault would result in arrest, and arrest would result in immediate deportation.
Even if it was Kaliningrad now, it would always be Prussia to Gilbert. He would not be parted with it.
The uniformed officer snorted, and then turned his back, scribbling away on his paper as he went, and he threw back, "It won't be much longer. You should probably start packing."
Gilbert started screeching again (something he had gotten surprisingly good at this past year) and Ludwig was upon him in a second, snatching up his collar and pulling him back.
"Fuck off, you Red son of a bitch! We were building castles when you were still makin' huts out of snow, you goddamn—"
Sometimes Ludwig felt like the older brother, rather than the other way around.
As Gilbert struggled against him, he could swear that there were eyes upon him, and it was with a furrowed brow that he looked around the street, as his brother made a scene. Again. He felt the flush of embarrassment on his cheeks when he realized that everyone was watching, and it was with a hissed, "Gilbert, come on!" that he forced Gilbert down the street.
As they went, and as people parted for them, he could still feel the eyes following him. When he finally reached the front door, and shoved Gilbert up towards it, he looked back over his shoulder.
Someone was watching him.
It was no surprise as to whom.
There he was, on the other side of the street, pale hair combed smoothly and pressed suit buttoned all the way up to his chin, standings straight and calm, hands tucked behind his back as he watched, eyes cool and serious and shoulders loose.
Odd violet eyes fell upon him, as they always did, and when their gazes met, he could not help but shiver.
What did he want?
He froze up, hands still clenching Gilbert's shirt, and at his sudden immobility Gilbert broke free. Maybe he would have gone off after the officer if he hadn't looked up and seen the Russian, too. An odd hesitation, as Gilbert struggled with fight or flight, and then he looked at Ludwig, back at the Russian, then he reversed the roles and reached up and grabbed Ludwig's collar, forcing him through the threshold.
The Russian's eyes bored into his own, until Gilbert slammed the door shut, and locked it.
Ludwig looked over at his brother, and foundered under Gilbert's accusative gaze.
"Who's that?" he asked, and Ludwig could only shrug a shoulder nonchalantly.
"I don't know. Who can say?"
Gilbert eyed him for a second, in one of those intense older brother moments, and Ludwig shifted his weight uncomfortably, but then Gilbert only backed away, muttering, "Well, don't talk to him," as he wandered off.
"Sure," Ludwig called back, and relaxed.
He was glad they were back home.
...even if it was Kaliningrad now.
Gilbert's mood was sinking down ever lower, and sometimes when Ludwig came home, he was sitting at the kitchen table, empty bottles of beer before him, and when he looked up, there was only despair in the once proud crimson eyes.
"I never thought it would turn out like this," he whispered, voice slurred and sad.
Ludwig could only shake his head and respond, "Yeah, neither did I."
Gilbert would only smile, half-heartedly, and drop his head down.
Ludwig let him sleep it off. It was easier that way.
The days turned into weeks, and then suddenly it had been two months since the renaming of the mighty city, and Ludwig noticed that his encounters with the Russian were increasing.
He still did not tell Gilbert.
It seemed harmless enough. Only staring. No harm had ever come from staring.
Soon it went beyond staring.
One morning he went to collect the mail, and a tiny, plain envelope had been thrust inside with all the others. He opened it up on the couch, as Gilbert snored away from his bedroom, and when Ludwig read it, he felt an odd guilt, as though he were doing something he should not.
It was a letter. Very short, and very blunt.
The handwriting was neat and tidy.
You don't know me, but I fought against the Prussians on the Eastern front, and I was impressed. The city is very old, and very honorable, and I find it considerably dishonorable that the new government has decided to change its name. Of course, I enjoy my new house, but I regret that it was required through such unfriendly circumstances. It will not be long before they come for you again. You have never been unkind to your new neighbors, and I find it much more respectable to be proud in the presence of enemies than hateful. I admire your politeness. One day, perhaps we can look upon each other as friends, rather than enemies.
If you ever find yourself in trouble, come to the house at the end of the street.
P.S. - Be careful next week. I hear another order is in the making to expel you.
That was it.
No signature, but he knew who it was from; that pale-haired Russian, who always seemed to bump into him.
He probably could not be trusted. None of them could. Gilbert had taught him that much, at least.
Still, Ludwig folded the letter neatly and tucked it away in his own room, just in case.
Just in case.
When Gilbert woke up, Ludwig greeted him and carried on as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
And who knew? Maybe the Russian would prove himself useful in the future.
For now, he focused himself on Gilbert, and pushed the mysterious note from the equally mysterious Russian from his mind, because what it had said was true, and he had to stay alert and aware.
They would come again.
He told Gilbert that he had a suspicion about a certain impending eviction, a hunch so to speak, and Gilbert had already made a phone call, but they would still come again after that. And again after that, and again after that.
It didn't take long.
There was a knock on the door not even two weeks after the letter arrived.
Ludwig went to open it, as Gilbert watched warily from the kitchen table, and as soon as the door opened, his heart sank.
It was that officer again.
The man looked agitated, and Gilbert was suddenly on his feet, pushing Ludwig off to the side and standing widely in the frame, one hand on either side and legs spread, as though he were worried that the officer would try to enter the house.
Not an irrational fear.
But this time the officer only stood there, papers in hand, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, as Gilbert and Ludwig stared him down, and then he took a combative step forward.
Gilbert tensed for war.
Finally, the officer spoke.
"I had papers ordering your removal," he said, voice very low and very dangerous, "and yet at the last second I get a call from the governor, staying your expulsion. This is the third time this has happened."
Gilbert's fingers gripped the doorframe firmly, Ludwig standing tall and calm behind him, as the officer looked back and forth between them with thinly veiled anger.
"What a coincidence," Gilbert drawled, brow high and eyes dark, and the officer's fingers clenched the paper.
Ludwig nearly snorted.
The first save had come from Roderich, the Austrian ambassador to Germany, whom Ludwig had met years ago during the war when the Austrian had been on a diplomatic stay in Königsberg. When the first expulsion papers had been presented, Ludwig had called Roderich as a last ditch, desperate effort, and Roderich had somehow broken through the government walls and bought them months of time.
The second save had come from Francis, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, an old friend of Gilbert's, and after calling Roderich had worked so well, Gilbert had called him, and sure enough, Francis had pulled through and the papers were cancelled.
The third time—this time—it had been Antonio who had come to the rescue, the First Vice President of Spain, another old friend of Gilbert's from before the war, and, like Roderich and Francis before him, he had come through with flying colors, using his influence in foreign affairs to their advantage.
Roderich had saved them. Then Francis. Now Antonio.
...they only had three friends.
"I don't know who you're calling," the officer ground out, "but it's not going to work forever. I'm going to the mayor this afternoon, and if I have to, I'll hound after you until you fuck up, and then I'll arrest you, and I'll make up a reason to deport you—"
Ludwig opened his mouth to retort; an empty threat, because now there was no one left to call, and if the papers came again then there was nothing more to do, but before he could find his voice, a shadow was cast over them, and a heavy hand had fallen on the officer's shoulder.
A silence, and then all three of them looked up, at the tall, broad-shouldered man that was suddenly hovering over them. And they all seemed to recognize him at the same time; that enigmatic Russian, always well-dressed, who stood over in corners and doorframes and shadows, and whose eyes were always upon Ludwig.
Gilbert tensed and brought himself in front of Ludwig, all but shielding him from view (had the top of his eyes not towered above Gilbert's head), and Ludwig felt that same old stir of unease and restlessness as the officer gawked up at the huge man, and sputtered a greeting in Russian.
Who was he?
Smiling, the tall Russian's fingers gripped the officer's shoulder in what looked like a very uncomfortable vice, and then he looked up, calm, pale eyes meeting Ludwig's immediately. Gilbert bristled and cleared his throat, lifting himself up onto his toes to block the gaze, and the Russian snorted, smile never faltering as he said, to the officer, "Now, now, comrade, there's no need for such words! We must treat our German neighbors as well as we do our own, yeah? Especially if they are not bothering anyone. I would hate for something unfortunate to result from such harassment..."
The officer tensed beneath him, and then finally nodded his head, very stiffly, and it was with an equally stiff voice that he asked, "May I be excused, comrade?"
The tall Russian smiled, and lifted his heavy hand. As soon as the contact was broken, the officer turned on his heel and stalked off, and Gilbert watched him go, but Ludwig's eyes were caught under the Russian's.
"I'm sorry that that had to happen. I can't stand such rudeness," he said, voice very soft and calm, and Gilbert looked up at him with something that could have been horror, and with a sudden jolt he tried to shove Ludwig back through the doorframe. The Russian's eyes never left him, even for a second, and he smiled tranquilly as Gilbert finally knocked Ludwig far back enough to shut the door.
At the very last second, Ludwig called, politely, "Thank you!" and right before the door slammed, he could see the Russian's smile widen.
It was only the courteous thing to do, but Gilbert still sent him a furious look nonetheless, but it was short lived, and then they both collapsed at the kitchen table, and the mood was dour.
They both knew that they had played their very last card.
"He said he was going to see the mayor," Gilbert grumbled, face buried in his hands, and Ludwig stared down at the table with a furrowed brow. "Can the mayor control expulsions?"
"I don't know, Gilbert," Ludwig whispered, seriously, "I don't know. Maybe." He tapped his fingers on the table, watching Gilbert out of the corner of his eye. "Maybe," he finally ventured, carefully, "Maybe we should just go, Gilbert. It would be safer, just to go to the West, don't you think? Maybe we could go to Austria, or France... It would be safer."
But Gilbert only shook his head, stubbornly, as Ludwig knew he would, and it was with a dreadful seriousness that he breathed, "I'll die before I leave Prussia. This is my home."
Ludwig furrowed a brow, and even though some part of him wanted to say, petulantly, 'It's not Prussia, anymore, Gilbert!,' he just couldn't bring himself to do it.
It would crush Gilbert.
For now, he could only sit there in silence, as the threat of being forced from their homeland hung over them, and even as Gilbert sat there, hopeless, Ludwig was considering...
He drummed his fingers on the table, so lost in his thoughts that he didn't even notice when Gilbert bowed his head and fell asleep.
What could it hurt?
Maybe he could seek help from the enemy.