Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia. I'm not crazy enough to try that one.
Zephyr here! It's been a while since I wrote a Hetalia story. I got the idea for this one for a while ago, but I just got the chance to write it up a few days ago. I had to consult with my psych major friend for help on this, but I really enjoyed writing it. Let the deadly tale begin!
"Ludwig! Ludwig, I need to talk to you!"
A small blonde boy looked up from the puzzle he was working on and focused his attention on the man walking into the room. Ludwig hadn't expected his older brother to return home so soon from work, so he was surprised to see him walking into the small apartment.
"Gilbert" Ludwig jumped up and ran over to his brother, wrapping his arms around his legs. "Where's Ellie? And why are you home so early?"
"Ellie's outside. She'll be in soon." Gilbert answered him. "I got off work a bit early today. Don't you want to see me?"
"Of course I do." Ludwig grinned. "I'm always happy to see you."
"That's good to know." Gilbert knelt down so that he was eye-level with his younger brother. "But listen, Ellie and I need to talk to you about something."
"About what?" Ludwig asked, his eyes growing wide.
"You'll have to wait until Elizaveta gets here." Gilbert said, ruffling his little brother's hair.
"And I already am."
Gilbert and Ludwig turned around and saw Elizaveta standing behind them. Her eyes moved from Ludwig to Gilbert and Ludwig thought that she seemed to be acting differently than she usually did.
"Ellie!" Ludwig had never liked many of his brother's friends, but he adored Elizaveta and was quite happy that she was in a relationship with Gilbert.
"Wie geht es dir, Ludwig/ How are you, Ludwig?" Elizaveta asked the boy in his native German, though it sounded strange in her Hungarian accent.
"Es geht mir gut/ I'm fine." Ludwig responded.
"You haven't told him yet?" Elizaveta's eyes were on Gilbert.
"I was waiting for you, mein liebe." Gilbert stood up and gave her a quick kiss.
"So you can tell me now?" Ludwig looked at his brother.
"Ellie is going to be teaching you how to dance." Gilbert said as he picked up his brother and placed him on the nearby couch.
"Dance?" Ludwig frowned in confusion.
"You know what Gil and I do?" Elizaveta asked the boy. "That's dancing."
"Why do I need to learn how to dance?" Ludwig wondered.
"We're going to Heinrich and Sascha's wedding, remember?" Gilbert reminded him. "There might be a girl who wants to dance with you."
"Like Maria or Eva." Elizaveta said with a smile.
"But why can't Mutti teach me?" Ludwig asked.
Gilbert looked hesitantly at Elizaveta before turning back to Ludwig and saying, "Ludwig, Mutti and Vatti aren't here anymore."
"Why not?" Ludwig frowned, the bright blue eyes on his older brother.
"They were in a car accident, remember?" Elizaveta told the boy, as Gilbert seemed unable to speak.
"No, they're coming home." Ludwig shook his head. "Sie haben immer nach Hause kommen/ They've always come home…"
"Ludwig…" Gilbert said slowly.
"They're just taking a bit longer this time." Ludwig explained.
"Ludwig, Mutter and Vater aren't-" Gilbert started to say.
"Come here, Gil." Elizaveta grabbed Gilbert's arm and pulled him away from the boy.
"Was ist das?" Gilbert questioned.
"This might be too much for him." Elizaveta said.
"What do you mean?" Gilbert frowned.
"He's just a kid, Gil." Elizaveta explained. "There's no way that he can understand that his parents are dead."
"But he'll have to understand." Gilbert said.
"And he will, but maybe not now." Elizaveta said. "He's too young to understand that his parents aren't coming home."
"He was at the funeral, Ellie." Gilbert's voice was cracking as he was trying to maintain his composure. "He saw Mutter and Vater being buried in the ground."
"Gil, he probably doesn't understand what's happening. He probably thinks that your parents are still out somewhere." Elizaveta said. "And if he does understand, then he's trying to reject the idea. He doesn't want to admit that his parents are dead."
"He's going to have to accept it." Gilbert said, running his hand through silver hair in frustration.
"And he will." Elizaveta said. "He just needs some time."
Gilbert looked over to his little brother. Ludwig had pulled out one of his books and was now flipping through the pages, his eyes scanning over the words. Gilbert had no idea what the boy was thinking, but he knew that he needed to tell him about their parents. Or at least explain that they were never coming home.
He knew that it would be difficult to explain things to Ludwig, but he had a feeling that his brother understood more than he was letting on. Even though he was young, Ludwig had always been more observant than the other kids his age, especially Feliciano and Lovino. At the same time, though, Gilbert realized that maybe this was a little too complex for the boy to understand. After all, Gilbert couldn't explain why their parents had to die so early and so tragically. How was a little boy meant to understand something that he couldn't even begin to grasp?
"Let me try talking to him." Gilbert turned to Elizaveta. "I need some time with him."
"I understand." Elizaveta nodded once. "I'll make myself scarce for a while."
"Danke." Gilbert nodded as well.
"Don't worry about it, Gil." Elizaveta said as she moved out of the room.
She knew that it would be difficult for Gilbert. She never had to worry about this sort of thing since she had no siblings. Now Gilbert was all Ludwig had and that was going to be difficult for Ludwig to understand.
"Where's Ellie going?" Ludwig asked in confusion as Gilbert approached him again.
"She has something that she needs to take care of." Gilbert hated lying to his brother, but it had to be done. "Besides, I need to talk to you, Ludwig."
"Me?" Ludwig's eyes grew wide. "What for?"
"It's about Mutti and Vatti." Gilbert said, picking up Ludwig and placing him next to him on the couch.
"What about them?" Ludwig asked.
Gilbert stared at the boy in silence for a few seconds while he thought of a way to phrase his question before he said, "Ludwig, you remember going to Mutter and Vater's funeral, right?"
"Ja." Ludwig nodded.
"Do you remember what I told you about funerals?" Gilbert asked.
"You said that it was a special thing that would help Vatti und Mutti." Ludwig answered. "You said that they would be safe and that nothing would hurt them anymore."
"That's right, I did." Gilbert nodded. "Do you understand why we had to bury them underground?"
"So they could surprise us later?" Ludwig asked.
"Not quite." Gilbert shook his head. "Mutter and Vater aren't going to be coming back, Ludwig."
"Why not?" Ludwig frowned and Gilbert could see the confusion in the bright blue eyes.
"They're dead, bruder." Gilbert said as gently as he possibly could.
"Dead?" Ludwig cocked his head to the side. "What does that mean?"
"Do you remember when your bird stopped moving and she wouldn't wake up?" Gilbert hoped his brother would understand from this.
"She was dead too?" Ludwig asked.
"Ja." Gilbert nodded.
"So Mutter und Vater are like Sofia?" Gilbert knew that his brother understood this. "They've not going to move again?"
"I'm afraid not, Ludwig." Gilbert shook his head sadly.
"Then why did we have to put them in the ground?" Ludwig asked as the tears started to form in his eyes.
"You want to keep their bodies safe, don't you?" Gilbert wrapped his arm around the smaller boy in an attempt to comfort him. "You don't want something to happen to them, do you?"
"Nein." Ludwig shook his head.
"It'll be okay, Ludwig." Gilbert moved his brother so that Ludwig was sitting on his lap and pulled him into a hug.
"What's going to happen to me now?" Ludwig looked up at Gilbert, the blue eyes meeting the red. "They're not going to take you away from me, are they?"
"Nein, of course not." Gilbert shook his head as he brushed Ludwig's hair from his eyes. "I'm not going to let anyone take you away from me, Ludwig."
"Good." Ludwig nodded. "I don't want you to leave me."
"I won't leave you." Gilbert promised. "You're all I have left now."
"Ja, ich verstehe" Ludwig nodded.
"I know this is tough." Gilbert wiped the tears away from Ludwig's face. "We'll get through this, okay?"
"But why aren't you crying, bruder?" Ludwig asked the older man.
"Well, one of us has to be the strong one." Gilbert gave his brother a little smile, but Ludwig knew that something was wrong.
"What's wrong, Gil?" Ludwig asked.
"Nothing's wrong." Gilbert shook his head. "Do you want some time?"
"Nein, I want to see Ellie." Ludwig answered.
"Okay, if you're sure." Gilbert shifted Ludwig to the other side of the couch. "I'll go get her."
"Ja." Ludwig nodded as Gilbert stood and walked out of the room.
He searched the apartment for a few minutes before he found Elizaveta in his room. She had been reading one of his books, but she quickly closed it and set it aside when he walked in.
"How'd it go?" She asked.
"I think he understands now." Gilbert said, struggling to keep his voice steady.
"Gil, are you okay?" Elizaveta knew that something was wrong.
"Yeah, I'm fine." Gilbert nodded, though Elizaveta knew that he wasn't being completely honest with her. "It was just so…"
"Difficult?" Elizaveta frowned.
"Ja." Gilbert nodded. "I just don't understand it."
"Understand what?" Elizaveta asked.
"Everything that's going on. It just doesn't make any sense." Gilbert went on. "How is Ludwig meant to understand something that I can't even begin to grasp?"
"Sometimes life just doesn't make any sense." Elizaveta pulled him into a hug. "It's too much to accept the death of one parent, let alone both at the same time."
"I'm not even worried about myself. I can take care of myself. I'm more worried about Ludwig." Gilbert pulled back and looked into Elizaveta's eyes. "He kept asking me why I wasn't crying. He didn't seem that worried about himself at all."
"Well, why weren't you crying?" Elizaveta asked.
"Because I couldn't let him see how this is affecting me." Gilbert told her. "There's no way he can see what this is doing to me."
"But there's something else, isn't there?" Elizaveta knew that he wasn't telling her something.
"Ellie, he's so afraid of being taken away from me." Gilbert went on. "You should have seen how scared he was."
"But you're still going to be with him, right?" Elizaveta clarified.
"I told him that." Gilbert nodded. "He seemed to be doing a bit better then."
"He'll be okay, Gil." Elizaveta hugged him again. "He's got you to watch after him."
"Yeah, no pressure there." Gilbert laughed nervously.
"You'll do fine." Elizaveta assured him. "He really trusts you, you know."
"Ja, I know." Gilbert nodded.
"We'd better get back to him." Elizaveta said. "You know, to make sure that he's okay."
"Good idea." Gilbert greed as he took her hand and led her out of his bedroom and into the living room.
When they reached the living room, they saw Ludwig sitting on the couch, his face red. It was obvious that he had been crying, despite his attempts to hide it from his older brother.
"Ludva, it's okay." Gilbert called his brother by his rarely-used nickname as he wrapped his arms around the smaller boy.
"Why did they have to leave us?" Ludwig asked as he tried to wipe the tears away from his eyes. "Is this my fault?"
"No, Ludwig. Of course it isn't." Elizaveta told him. "You didn't do anything wrong."
"Then why did Mutter and Vater have to die?" Ludwig asked.
"I wish I knew." Gilbert told him. "Sometimes bad things happen to good people."
"There are things that we will never be able to answer." Elizaveta told the boy.
"Is this one of those things?" Ludwig looked from Elizaveta to Gilbert.
"Ja, es ist." Gilbert nodded.
"Oh." Ludwig said sadly as he lowered his head.
"Do you need some time, Ludwig?" Elizaveta asked. "We can always do this later."
"Nein." Ludwig shook his head.
Gilbert could tell that his brother wasn't being completely honest. Ludwig wasn't okay. After all, how could one be after finding out the truth about the death of his parents? At the same time, Gilbert could tell that Ludwig needed a distraction in order for him to cope with this. He did the same thing, so it wasn't surprising to see Ludwig doing the same thing.
"Okay." Gilbert nodded. "Are you ready to start dancing, then?"
"Ja." Gilbert nodded as well.
"What are we dancing to, Ellie?" Gilbert turned to his girlfriend, who was standing by the piano.
"I was going to play some Blutengel." Elizaveta said, the German sounding strange in her Hungarian accent.
"Blutengel on the piano?" Gilbert frowned in confusion. "Will that work?"
"Über den Horizont." Elizaveta said as she struggled with the German.
"Huh. I guess that would work." Gilbert said. He turned to Ludwig ands said, "Ready?"
"Ja." Ludwig nodded.
"Come over here and stand in front of me." Gilbert said as Elizaveta moved over to the piano.
"What do I have to do?" Ludwig asked.
"Well, do you want to be the boy or the girl?" Elizaveta asked.
"The boy" Ludwig exclaimed, horrified at the notion of possibly pretending to be a girl.
"That'll make things difficult." Elizaveta said to Gilbert. "You're so much taller than him, Gil."
"But when he's dancing with girls his own age, he can't be dancing like one." Gilbert pointed out. "We'll just do what we can with this."
"So what do I do?" Ludwig asked his brother.
"Well, this will be a bit different because I'm so much taller than you, but it will be much easier when you're dancing with a girl your height." Gilbert said.
"Ich verstehe." Ludwig nodded.
"So you take my hand like this and place your arm around my waist." Gilbert instructed, taking Ludwig's arm and hand.
"Why do I do that?" Ludwig looked up at Gilbert.
"You don't want to lose track of her, do you?" Gilbert offered a smile.
"Nein." Ludwig shook his head.
"We're ready when you are, Ellie." Gilbert looked back at his girlfriend.
"Got it." Elizaveta nodded as she started playing the piano, her fingers moving across the ivory keys.
"Now what?" Ludwig asked curiously.
"We move back and forth to the music." Gilbert responded. "I know it sounds a bit different than what you're used to, but do you recognize the song?"
"Ja." Ludwig nodded. "This is one that you always listen to."
"Good." Gilbert said. "Now you just need to move with the rhythm."
"How do I do that?" Ludwig asked.
"Just move from side to side." Gilbert told him.
"Like this?" Ludwig asked as he started to move back and forth.
"Yeah, just like that." Gilbert said with a smile. "See? It's easy."
"I guess so." Ludwig nodded. "So what comes next?"
"That's the basic stuff." Gilbert told him. "There are other harder dances, but you don't need to learn those right now."
"Will I ever?" Ludwig asked.
"Maybe someday." Elizaveta said from the piano.
"That doesn't sound very fun." Ludwig scowled.
"It doesn't seem like it now, but you'll learn to appreciate it." Gilbert told him.
"If you say so." Ludwig nodded. "Hey, bruder?"
"Ja?" Gilbert looked down at the smaller boy.
"Can I try something?" Ludwig asked, blue eyes meeting the red.
"Sure, I suppose." Gilbert shrugged. "What is it?"
Ludwig simply grinned at his brother and when there was a pause in the music moved his feet so that he was standing on Gilbert's shoes.
"Now what do you think you're doing?" Gilbert smiled. "You can't do that with a girl."
"But you're not a girl." Ludwig giggled.
"Well, thanks for noticing." Gilbert pretended to be angry, though he knew his little brother could see through this.
"And this is fun!" Ludwig laughed.
"But you can't do this when you're dancing with a girl." Gilbert told him.
"Why not?" Ludwig frowned in confusion.
"You'll crush her feet." Gilbert explained. "Normally girls are much smaller than boys."
"Have you ever noticed how much taller Gilbert is than me?" Elizaveta turned around from the piano.
"I always thought that you'd keep growing and that you'd catch up with him, Ellie." Ludwig stepped off of Gilbert's feet as the song ended.
"Nah, I'm done growing." Elizaveta spun around so that she was facing Ludwig and Gilbert. "I'm as tall as I'll ever be."
"Everyone isn't as tall as everyone else?" Ludwig frowned.
"People come in different sizes." Gilbert explained. "You could end up being taller than me."
"Cool!" Ludwig exclaimed.
"So you think you've got it down?" Elizaveta asked.
"If it's that easy, yeah." Ludwig nodded.
"Well, let's see if you'll remember it when you're at the wedding." Gilbert said. "Now did you remember to feed Berlitz today?"
"Uh…" Ludwig's eyes fell to the floor as he tried to avoid looking at his brother.
"You have to remember to feed him, Ludwig." Gilbert told him. "You told me that you were responsible enough for a dog, so you have to take care of him."
"Ja, ich versteche." Ludwig nodded.
"Where is he, anyway?" Elizaveta asked as her eyes scanned the room.
"Asleep in my room." Ludwig answered.
"Okay, well, go feed him before you forget." Gilbert said. "And don't forget to take him outside after you finish."
"Ja." Ludwig said as he dashed off in the direction of his bedroom.
"You're seriously worried about raising him on your own?" Elizaveta asked Gilbert.
"I'm terrified of it." Gilbert turned around to face her. "Why?"
"I think you'll do fine." Elizaveta assured him, standing from the piano and walking over to him. "It's going to take some getting used to, but you guys are gonna be okay."
"Talk about having to grow up fast." Gilbert ran his hand through his hair.
"At least it'll be good practice for when you have kids." Elizaveta pointed out.
"You mean if." Gilbert told her. "And it's not like I could leave him by himself."
"I know, I know." Elizaveta pulled him into a hug. "Family has to stick together."
"Yeah, it's not like we have anyone left now." Gilbert shook his head.
"Well, you know I'm here if you need me." Elizaveta said, giving him a quick kiss. "You don't have to do this alone."
"Thanks, Ellie." Gilbert said. "I know that'll make this a lot easier for Ludwig."
"I still don't see why the kid likes me so much." Elizaveta shrugged.
"Because you're nice to him." Gilbert told her. "You've always been great with kids."
"If you say so." Elizaveta nodded.
Though they couldn't see it, Elizaveta and Gilbert weren't alone. Ludwig had been crouched behind the wall as he listened to the conversation. While he didn't exactly what was going on, he did notice just how scared his brother was. Ludwig couldn't tell if it was because they had just lost their parents or if there was another reason behind the fear in the crimson eyes.
Yet despite the fear, Ludwig could tell that Gilbert was happy when they were dancing. He didn't know why, but his big brother was a lot better during those moments. Ludwig hadn't liked dancing that much, but if it could make Gilbert that happy, then maybe it wasn't that bad after all.
So this was longer than what I expected, but I'm really, really happy with how it turned out. Parts were difficult to write, but I like this. I can't imagine it ending any other way. I've got a few more Hetalia oneshots in mind, so look for them soon. Thanks for reading!