Should You Truly Fly Away?
Awright, first thing first: warnings! Don't you just love warnings?
Humans!AU, somehow character death, maybe black humour, and even though it's pretty light-hearted at first, it jumps straight to sappy and dramatic, and then it gets ridiculous at the end. Ready?
Gilbert knows he is laying on something flat, but soft, and for a good fraction of second he doesn't want to get up. He vaguely remembers doing something that isn't sleeping just a moment prior, and wonders if he loses some part of his memory after that. He gropes around with a hand and the smoothness of the ground replies to him. Except it doesn't feel like any bed; not a mattress, not a water bed. He turns on his side and is impressed by how the ground stays solid yet akin to fluffy. He needs to know what kind of bed he is currently on. Or floor.
Opening his eyes reluctantly to the blinding light that greets him, Gilbert gives a (totally awesome) squeak. And then –
"Are you finally awake, then?" A voice asks grudgingly, and stomps on his stomach.
"What the f –" Gilbert yelps, but bubble-shaped lights choke him out of the blue. After they let go, Gilbert manages to glance at the source of the voice and shrieks (again) in amusement at the toga-wearing figure looming above him. "What the f – what's with these s – what's happening, you motherf – what's the problem with these lights-like things?"
"You were trying to swear, it's impossible to do that here." The toga-wearing, winged humanoid-like creature says, crossing his arms, in which a wand with a star of a tip juts out of one hand.
"That doesn't explain why these lights are attempting to kill the Awesome Me," Gilbert scolds, pauses, and adds after rubbing his chin. "And no one should be allowed to stop whatever the Awesome Me is saying, so where the f – gotcha!" He grabs onto one of the lights, but it disperses in between the gaps of his fingers and pulls on his lower lip. When he slaps the ground to threaten spitting on them, he sees his lower body part and wonders why the f – even in his mind? Gilbert groans.
"You're in the afterlife," equips the...holy s – are those eyebrows?
"That's the lamest joke I've ever heard in my whole awesome life." Gilbert scowls, stands up, and bares his body in front of the creature with caterpillars of eyebrows. "Is it because I'm naked? You should be the one in afterlife, angel-boy."
The human-or-not's glare can certainly kill, and his growl is well trained to drip with the urge to maim. "Yeah? Shame, but your life has just ended so that doesn't particularly count. And, not-bloody heaven, you're small."
Gilbert is unexpectedly calm; he would usually beat the c – out of everyone who ever insults his five-meters. "Well, show me yours, sonny. I bet it's nothing compared to my glorious one. Or is the standard in the afterlife different?" He smirks as he feels his victory spread out in front of his eyes. However, when he does look around the two of them, it's pure white, of no background, and of total silence as well.
And then, he really starts to freak out. "Where is this place?"
"I said, and listen, you not-git," the whatever-he-is-supposed-to-be scrunches his nose. "This is the afterlife. You died."
Gilbert gawks at him. "There is no way I could've died!"
"God, why do I have to be assigned to this not-wanker?" He sighs and sheds a tear out of nowhere. "Remember, lad. What's the last thing you can remember?"
Gilbert squints his eyes, even though he would have been okay trying to remember without doing so. "I just finished drinking with Francis and Antonio because Antonio finally romanced Lovino. And then I had to leave because West was freaking out about needing the bike."
"Let me guess, you rode the motorcycle?"
"Well, obviously! After all, the Awesome Me couldn't be forced to drag it back home in the dark of night!" Gilbert gushes, snorting as though the very idea can only be fulfilled if the world is on the verge of ending. "Then there was this light and I'm suddenly here."
"That's how you died." The other man-or-maybe-not points out.
Gilbert blinks. "I died being exposed to giant light bulbs?"
"No, you died flattened by a lorry."
There is a moment of silence as Gilbert digests the information and makes a face because that is so not awesome. "I can't be dead!"
"Do you need proof?" A caterpillar eyebrow raised, the angel-like thing conjures a paper and shoves it in the albino man's face. "That's the newspaper released the next morning. Your death is the headline, congratulations."
Sure enough, the bolded letters say: "Tragic Death! Truck kills a man as well as nearly rips the head off but it stays intact, anyway," and the photo of the lorry but not the actual crime scene.
Gilbert breathes, crumples it into a ball, and throws it on the ground, stomping on it for good measure. "That was sh –! It must've been photoshopped!" He rasps out, hardly breathing. "I'm not dead! I can't die!"
"You died; everyone can die. Accept that." The Angel leans down until they are both crouched down on the soft, soft floor and their eyes are level. "I want to finish this job as quickly as possible, so I will have to take the last resort."
"Last what?" Gilbert raises an eyebrow despite trying to glare, and is whisked away through spear-sharp wind and cotton-surfaced maybe-walls, the Angel's arm linked in his.
They are standing–no, floating in the sky. But Gilbert flinches, because it's not the same pure white that is greeting him; it's the greenness of grass, grayness of walls, and brownness of mud. He is not afraid of falling; of dropping; he is afraid of letting go of the Angel's hand, which holds him together.
"I'm letting you see your funeral." The Angel says, and they fly across the street, through people, and it soon becomes apparent to Gilbert that they are invisible to them. He squeezes the Angel's hand, and the Angel squeezes his harder in response. It's of reassurance, Gilbert thinks he can feel.
When they finally land on the ground and the grass doesn't tickle his feet, Gilbert scurries into the church the Angel points him to, goes through the door, and ends up face-to-face with West. He squeals, but Ludwig suddenly throws his own head down, and the fact that his brother can't see him there pains.
"Ludwig, you have to stay," Feliciano says softly, coming up from behind Ludwig, where a lot more people turn their bodies around to watch the two of them in worry.
Everyone is looking his way, but none of them is really looking at Gilbert.
"Do you think I can accept Big Brother's death?" Ludwig snarls under his breath, spinning on his heel and smacking Feliciano's tending hand on his shoulder. Gilbert winces; Feliciano will cry.
"You accepted it already, Ludwig," the Italian says instead, eyes still gentle but strong and heart-drilling. "You accepted the fact that Gilbert is never coming back again."
"He is coming back," Ludwig doesn't seem deterred. "Because he didn't die." When their grandfather passed away, Ludwig was strong; Gilbert was weak. This seems like a bad imitation of their lives turned drama, but Gilbert believes it in some ways.
"He is in that fucking coffin, you potato idiot!" Lovino shouts from the front seat, so loud it causes the building to vibrate. "How pathetic can you be?"
"But Big Brother didn't die!" Ludwig screams, hands trembling, and Feliciano hugs him. "It's my fault! I made him ride that bike when he was so drunk!"
And then he starts to sob, tears flooding his face, wetting his neck, and red is his face. Feliciano, circling his hands around his taller friend, cries on Ludwig's suit, and for the first time, he doesn't mind having his clothes dirtied by snots. As if on cue, the others proceed to weep.
Gilberts steps, hollowly, across the floor, passing by Elizabeta, who covers her face with the handkerchief Gilbert gave her once after winning it in a cheap lottery, and Roderich, whose eyes are so sad, Gilbert thinks to forgive his pansy way. Lovino doesn't let any of his tears come out, but he holds onto the wailing Antonio on his shoulder. Francis cries, too, and Alfred, and Matthew, his eternal best pancake-making friend. The Russian siblings seclude themselves in the corner, but the whimpers in Yekaterina's voice and Ivan's presence around her more than compensate for the drama. Yao leans on Kiku, both staring blankly at the coffin, and even Yong-Soo is silent. Gilbert likes them; Yong-Soo has great humour sense, Kiku has great taste in mostly everything, and Yao gives him food. When he reaches the coffin, filled with his body, of flesh and blood and no-longer-beating heart, the Angel descends on his side.
"I'm the Britannia Angel, but everyone calls me Arthur," he tells him.
"Why are you saying this now?" Gilbert asks, looking up at him. His eyes are still red, but they have become bloodshot.
Arthur sighs. "Because right now, you need someone to hold you, like everyone else in here does," he pulls Gilbert's head and pushes it against his bare shoulder. "And only I can do that now."
When he screams bloody murder and sheds enough tears of a lifetime, whispering Arthur's name after he loses breath, brings him into tears again, but the warmth he is surrounded with soothes the aches. Arthur strokes his back, and not for a second says anything, Gilbert knows that if he were to die, it would be for this.
"I've only ever seen Francis cried once," Gilbert says as they sit on the bench furthest from the humans–alive–and Arthur listens fervently. "That's when he tried to court Katyusha, you see. He said girls like her have motherly instinct, so they will naturally be attracted to men who seem younger and needing taking care of. You should've seen the bruises Ivan gave him after that. It was damn hilarious!"
"How impudent," Arthur says.
"That's what she said!" Gilbert slaps his knee, laughing to himself, much to Arthur's disgust, but that just makes him more amused than ever.
"Hey, do you want to tell your friends something?" Arthur asks as the humans beckon to move the coffin. "I can make you visible for one minute."
Gilbert looks at him. "And then I'll go to the afterlife?"
"You'll be with me," Arthur nods, and it's not that hard of a series of choice to choose from.
Basch regrets not carrying his rifle when a mist collects in one place and a rather transparent Gilbert is floating on top of the coffin he is supposed to be in. Unless it's a ghost. Seeing that Alfred has fainted in Matthew's arm the moment he catches the sight, it's very much ghostly, alright.
"Yo, West, I'm dead, ain't I?" He greets them with the same obnoxious smirk. Ludwig's eyes are almost white. "Died by a truck, can you believe that? Well, it turns out that the Awesome Me still has a chance to spread my awesomeness even after death, so don't you worry about me, okay?"
Kiku is taking pictures, a little relieved smile forming on his face. "Then why are you haunting us, Gilbert-kun?"
"I can only stay here for a minute, so listen up, you guys!" Gilbert claps his hands, even though it turns out inaudible. "I'm leaving. For real. Forever. So you guys take care of yourselves. Kiku, don't weep over my form in that photo when it's developed. And don't you sell it to anyone else. It'll be hard for me to be happy if you guys aren't."
Elizabeta and Kiku have a moment of telepathic agreement, decidedly ignoring Gilbert. After all, this is too good to forget.
"Feli, I will miss your pasta like crazy. Your tomato, too, Antonio, Lovino!" Gilbert continues on. "And Matt, your pancake rocks. Maple syrup FTW! Francis, shame you will have to miss my face. Katyusha, I've wanted to say this for a long time, and now that I've died, Ivan can't reach me. Your boobs are a gift from God. Oh, and West?"
"Um, yes?" The blonde backs, unsure if he can actually see kinda-ghost-Gilbert in the eye.
"Both Opa and me won't be there for you now."
"He'll be okay," Roderich says unexpectedly, gaining attention to himself. "I'll make sure of that."
"Um, I'm a capable adult," Ludwig tries to explain, and it falls onto deaf ears.
"I'll be with him, too, so you shouldn't worry, Gilbert!" Feliciano pipes up, clinging on one of Ludwig's muscled arms.
"That's great–" Gilbert suddenly turns on his side and argues with thin air. "A few more seconds, Arthur! Come on! That's so un-awesome!" There is a poof, and what has been is no longer there.
It's quiet at first, but then Feliks remarks while twirling his hair. "I knew he was totally lying about his, like, five-meters."
"Well, obviously," Toris rolls his eyes. He glances at Kiku and sees him laugh with Elizabeta at the apparently good photo of kinda-ghost-Gilbert floating in nude.
"Oops," Arthur says, which isn't much.
"You should've given me something to wear first!" Gilbert wails as they exit the church where the previously crying occupants are now happy-or-whatever from the spirit striptease entertainment.
"Well, you didn't think of it as well," Arthur snipes, throwing his face. "And if I were to do that, you would've had less time to talk to them."
Gilbert looks back at the crowd for one last moment before wrapping one arm around Arthur's neck. "So, afterlife?"
"Afterlife," Arthur agrees, and smiles. "The no-swearing lights must have missed you."
"That's a turn-off." Gilbert moans. "Hey, I wanna be an angel, too."
Arthur looks incredulous at the very mention of it. "There is certainly a procedure you can take to be one."
"If I were to apply to be an angel, can I swear like you did?" Gilbert asks, looking oddly serious.
"You still can't swear," Arthur stares at him ludicrously. "There is an 'in case of emotional release' lesson in the academy, though. You will have to make do with that."
"Like your 'not-wanker'?" Gilbert teases, shrugging. "Sounds cool. Would I need to wear those?"
"Er, no, you can choose whatever you want to wear. The wings are an essential, though."
Gilbert scans Arthur's toga in horror at the same time they are stabbed by the winds. The whiteness greets their comeback, and with Arthur's hand in his, it doesn't seem half bad.
At the end, he becomes an angel called the Teutonic Knight. And for some reason, he also wears toga. Being with Arthur for a good amount of time does that.