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[APH] Choking
beyondafter
Title: Choking
Fandom: Axis Powers Hetalia
Pairing/Characters: Gilbert, Ludwig, Ivan
Notes: yes because Prussia deathfic is new and exciting.

This was inspired by a conversation with a friend about the nations, in which he gave me a new dark take on Prussia's life and death. It's in that weird category of Hetalia fic that's more about the characters than the history - I tried to get all of the events as historically accurate as I could, but the motivations and reasons are based more on Gilbert than on Prussia or the GDR.
Summary: Every nation needs to have a country. Ivan offers one as a gift.

He’s dying.

 

It’s not an obvious thing, but he knows it’s happening. He feels weaker ever day, and in the mirror he looks more and more pale and drawn. Even his eyes have lost their normal bright shade, dulling to something that’s more gray than red. It’s hard even to get out of bed in the mornings.

 

This isn’t how I want to die, he rages, but there is nothing he can do. His country has been broken apart and he is breaking with it. Without his name (and Gilbert Weillschmidt is not his name, has never been his name) he is nothing. Soon he will fade fully, becoming just another part of history, a few pages in the history textbooks. The newest editions he’s sure already have it, a footnote on the War. Prussia was dissolved on February 25th, 1947. He’ll be lucky even to get the line.

 

Germany doesn’t notice, and Gilbert can’t blame him. The man is dealing with enough, trying to rebuild, to keep the Allies from taking too much, to recover from the damage his boss did to him and to the world. Gilbert can’t ask more of him, and so he says nothing as Germany writes frantic treaties, makes call after call, and tries to sort out his life.

 

One night he grabs a beer and heads out into the streets of Berlin, leaving Germany to mull over some new diplomatic document. The city seems nearly deserted tonight, and Gilbert relishes the solitude. For the first time in a long time he feels like he’s his own again, and it feels almost as if the streets are his again, not Germany’s.

 

“We could make them yours,” a quiet voice says behind him, and Gilbert nearly jumps out of his skin as he whirls around to face the intruder on his thoughts.

 

He knows the man all too well – tall and large, with pale hair and pale skin and pale purple eyes. It’s a warm night but that scarf is still drawn over the man’s face, half-hiding the calm smile that he wears, the smile that never reaches his eyes.

 

“What the hell are you doing here?!” Gilbert snaps, trying to muster up his old strength. He’s never liked Russia, and the war has only made that worse. (The five men talking, deciding, “he’s always been so warlike”, and then--)

 

“So angry, Gilbert,” Russia chides, and the name makes Gilbert wince. “I just came to visit this fine city, yes? And maybe to talk for a little bit about getting back what you deserve.”

 

“And why the hell would you help with that? You were one of the Allies!” His voice is weak even as he tries to shout, but he ignores it, pushes it aside for the sake of rage. His message comes through, and if he has to gasp for breath afterwards, that means nothing.

 

Russia shakes his head, looking almost amused. “No need to strain yourself so much, friend. I never agreed with the other Allies. I always liked you, Gilbert—Prussia was a lovely nation.” He emphasizes that was, and Gilbert has to fight down the urge to punch him.

 

“Too late to undo it now,” he growls. “You destroyed Prussia and broke it apart. And I hope Kaliningrad catches fire and burns everything there to ash.”

 

“So much hostility when I come for friendship!” Russia smiles again, so bright and dazzling and fake that it hurts Gilbert just to see it. “Prussia may be gone, but there are still many ways to get you back what is yours. I could even restore much of Berlin to you!”

 

Berlin. Once his city, and still his home. Gilbert’s heart sings at the idea. But he’s wary, doesn’t trust that too-even smile and those too-cold eyes. “There has to be a catch. And what about Germany?”

 

“The only catch is that you would have to help me out a little. As for Germany… I doubt he would mind at all! He’d be so happy to see his brother healthy.” Russia takes a slow step toward Gilbert, smile widening a little. “It would be wonderful. Your own lands again, your own life…”

 

Gilbert shivers slightly (since when is it so cold, anyways?) and tries not to listen, but his mind is racing. Part of him knows that there has to be a trick, some sort of trap, but most of him is remembering what it was to feel the thrum and pulse of his own country, to be whole. Besides, the territory should be his. Germany has no right to his affairs.

 

Suum cuique,” a voice whispers to him, somewhere in the air, and it’s a voice Gilbert has held onto for years. “Have you forgotten so soon?”

 

And Gilbert makes his choice.

 

“…Give me back what is mine,” he says aloud.

 

Russia smiles and steps forward, wrapping a scarf tight around his neck, and Gilbert tries to ignore the feeling that he’s already being choked. “Welcome home, comrade.”

 

---

 

Germany (West Germany, now) comes to visit him early on, before things are fully in place. Gilbert (East Germany) welcomes him in, shows him to the kitchen, gets them both beers, but West stares at his in silence, seemingly unwilling to drink it.

 

East does what he can to encourage conversation. “C’mon, West, it’s not poisoned. You can drink it, I swear it won’t kill you. It’s a good stout, too, none of that pissy love-in-a-canoe shit.”

 

“…Do you even realize what’s going on, Gilbert?” West asks quietly, lifting his head to stare at East.

 

“My name is East Germany or the German Democratic Republic. Not Gilbert,” East snaps in reply. His old strength isn’t fully restored, but at least now he can sound angry without gasping for breath, hold his own a little.

 

“He’s just trying to tear us apart, Gilbert!” West protests, showing more emotion than he has in years. “He’s going to use you as a puppet and nothing more!”

 

“You don’t know that!” East retorts, slamming his beer down onto the table. “And even if you’re right?! At least I still exist! As long as I exist, I can hold him off! Prussia’s handled worse before!”

 

“You’re not Prussia any more,” Germany replies quietly.

 

“…It doesn’t matter either way.”

 

Germany sighs and stands, walking for the door. “Goodbye, East.”

 

“Good riddance, West.”

 

The door slams like a gunshot. East just sighs and drains the rest of the beer, reaching up to adjust his scarf, drawing it tight around his neck to ward off the chill.

 

---

 

It seems to be colder every day and there’s less and less food for higher and higher prices, but East manages to scrape by. Russia’s demands for labor seem to get more and more unreasonable every week, which doesn’t help, but by working himself to the bone he always gets the work done.

 

He’s relaxing for once after a long day of work on whatever the latest project is—some street that Russia promises will be the symbol of the reconstruction or whatever. It’s dark in the house—there’s no electricity any more, not at night—but he’s lit a few candles that cast the room into flickering shadow.

 

There’s a knock at the door, but East already knows exactly who it is, so he doesn’t bother to open it. Russia always enters on his own either way, which is exactly what the man does this time, walking into East’s living room as if he owns it.

 

Which, in some senses, he does.

 

East waves from the couch and Russia walks over to join him, but the taller man doesn’t sit—he simply stands, looming over East. “How is the Stalinallee going?” he asks in that too-cheerful tone that East has come to dread.

 

“Ah, great.” East grins a tiny bit. For once he thinks Russia will have to acknowledge his works, the amount of labor he’s put in. He sips the glass of vodka he holds before placing it back on the table.

 

“We need you to work harder, comrade. On that and everything. A lot of work to be done, yes?” Those violet eyes regard him evenly, almost emptily. “If you cannot work faster, of course, we could simply reduce the compensation for the work.”

 

East is startled for a moment, but shock quickly turns into anger and he climbs to his feet, glaring up at Russia. “My people and I are already working our fingers to the bone! You can’t demand more of us!” He can’t work any harder than he is, not without food or rest. It’s impossible.

 

“It is a simple request, comrade.” There’s something dangerous in Russia’s expression now, but East can’t read it and doesn’t care to.

 

“Listen, I’m not doing it! I’ll work as hard as I have been, or I won’t work at all! It’s as simple as that!” He’s standing tall now, all the old anger and strength back in him, prepared to fight, take what he deserves—

 

And then there’s a sudden wave of pain and his view reorients himself as he goes crashing to the floor. His legs—something’s happened to his legs, his knees, he can’t even bend them without sending waves of agony racing through his body. Someone’s whimpering and it takes East a while to realize that it’s him.

 

Russia steps to stand over him, looming and impressive, the pipe held loosely in one hand. He reaches down with the other hand, grabs East’s scarf and pulls it so it’s drawn tight—too tight, he’s choking—around his neck. “You will do your work, yes, comrade?” he says, still calm, still cold.

 

East gasps for breath, tries to fight down the pain, tries to remember how to speak. Finally he gasps something out, and even he’s not certain if it’s “yes” or “help”.

 

Whatever it is, it’s enough to satisfy Russia, and he releases his grip on the scarf and steps away. “Good night, comrade. It was lovely seeing you.”

 

Russia leaves the house, but the cold and the pain remain, and East curls up on the floor and tries to breathe the too-thin air.

 

---

 

He and West still meet, a few times a month. It’s always horribly awkward and usually ends with one or both storming off, but neither of them ever asks to stop the meetings. For East it’s a chance to get better food (or sometimes just any food), relax, stop the work for a few minutes. It’s a chance to check in on his brother.

 

But one night he goes to visit and finds a wall in his way.

 

Russia’s standing next to it, smiling again, and East approaches him, ignoring the twang of phantom pain from his knees. “What the hell is this?!” he demands, gesturing at the looming mass of the wall.

 

“Too many of your best were leaving. We need a strong work force for our side, yes?” Russia smiles broadly. “Now nobody will leave and so you will be strengthened! It will be a good thing.”

 

“What if I want to leave?” East shouts.

 

Russia laughs, but the noise sends shivers down East’s spine. “Don’t be silly! Why would you want that? Didn’t you choose to split off from him to begin with?”

 

East has no response to this, and Russia laughs again and bends down to adjust his scarf for him. “You should go, little East. The guards are making sure that nobody leaves. We’ll be strong soon.”

 

The first gunshot sounds off somewhere down the Wall, and East closes his eyes and walks away from Russia, from the Wall, from his brother.

 

---

 

When Hungary manages to break through to Austria, East takes the chance to sneak around, walking through the gardens slowly and cautiously. (And how odd that Hungary and Austria are the ones to help—he’d thank them, but his pride won’t quite allow it.)

 

He makes it to his brother’s house, knocking a few times before slumping against the doorframe. He’s weak and hungry and somehow it seems hard to breathe lately but it’s too cold to even think of loosening the scarf.

 

Finally West opens the door and East staggers inside, not bothering with formalities. He makes it to the couch and sags onto it, trying to keep himself from swaying too much.

 

“My God, East, what happened to you?” West is looking him over, fussing over him, concern shining through on his face. “What has he been doing?!”

 

“I’m fine…” East forces out, trying to grin like he used to. “We’re doing great… Wonderful… Well, except for the fact that a vodka-drinking madman controls our every move, but hey!” He laughs, knowing just how forced it must sound.

 

“We’re working on bringing the Wall down,” West murmurs, sitting next to him. “We think that Germany could be reunited within the next few months. It’s not certain yet, but…”

 

“And what happens to me then?!” East shouts, his voice hoarse.

 

West leans back, looking startled. “What are you talking about, East…?”

 

“You get Germany back to yourself, and I get… what?! Nothing?! I need to have a country, West!” He’s shaking, he knows, but he doesn’t have the energy to stop it. “I won’t go back to just being Gilbert!”

 

“Oh, East…” West reaches out slowly, almost hesitantly, to draw his brother into a light hug. “You’ll always be my brother, Gilbert. With or without a country, you’ll still be important to me.”

 

East just leans against his brother in silence and knows that West cannot understand.

 

---

 

The Wall is falling.

 

East’s people are pulling it apart, piece by piece, and he can hear picks and sledgehammers on the other side as well. He doesn’t move, just watching it come apart. He’s too weak, too tired, to even try to take part. As the pieces fall, he feels his connection to his people coming undone, feels them leave him.

 

They are not his people.

 

They were never his people.

 

They are Germany’s people.

 

Finally the section in front of him comes crashing down. West (Germany again, whole, and there is nothing left for Gilbert) is standing on the other side, pick in hand, looking exhausted and drained but happy. Gilbert can’t blame him.

 

He runs to Gilbert, smiling more widely than Gilbert has ever seen him smile before. “We did it! We finally did it!” he cheers, and his ecstasy is almost contagious.

 

Gilbert smiles weakly, nodding. “I’m proud… glad you’re back together, Germany…” he mumbles. Then somewhere in the distance there’s the noise of more crumbling concrete, and Gilbert crumbles with it, falling to the ground.

 

“Gilbert?!” Germany’s on his knees in seconds, looking him over, concern shining in those blue eyes of his. “Gilbert, what’s going on?”

 

“I… told you, didn’t I? I need a country.” Gilbert shakes his head weakly. “But not yours. I shouldn’t have broken apart what was yours. Suum cuique…” He coughs a little, feels blood on his lips.

 

“I-I didn’t… didn’t realize…” Germany murmurs, looking vulnerable and scared and almost like he did when he was just a child, when Prussia took him and raised him from the ground up.

 

“’Course you didn’t. You’re not really great at that sort of stuff.” Gilbert forces another smile. “But don’t worry. I’m too awesome to really go, right?”

 

“Gilbert…” Germany starts, but Gilbert cuts him off.

 

“Don’t call me that. Not now, not here. Call me by my name one more time.”

 

Germany hesitates, then nods. “…Goodbye, Prussia.”

 

The last of the Wall collapses somewhere, and the scarf falls loosely from Gilbert’s neck. “Feels good… to breathe…” he whispers to the air.

 

There’s a brief moment of pain, and then—

 

Germany is reunited, and Gilbert Weillschmidt is gone at last.


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Oh, wow, that's a really unique take on the reunification... it was really good <333 Poor Prussia. ;___; I like the touch with the scarf, particularly.

Thank you so much! ♥ The idea for the particular take is partially my friend's fault. And I'm glad you like the scarf thing.

OH MY GOD I'M GONNA GO CRY NOW. ; ;

THIS IS A COMPLEMENT.

HAHAHA, YES, YOUR TEARS FUEL ME

In all seriousness, though, I'm glad to know this could touch someone. ♥

Liet~
I can't read this. I love you though ♥

This.


This is beautiful. You captured everything fantastically.
My eyes were watering at the very end. It sent shivers down my spine. Everyone was perfectly IC, especially Russia.


Thank you so much for sharing this. So much ♥

I'm so so glad you like it! I worry about my Russia a lot, so. ♥

Just beautiful. And bittersweet. Everyone was so in-character, and I love your take on the Berlin Wall-reunification spiel.

Thank you so much! I worry a lot about my Germany and Russia, so.

HOLY FLAMING FUCK.

I-I'm sorry. But this comment will be incoherance. B-because. I'm sorry. I'm at a loss for words. Just.

Russia was so in-character, and Germany and Prussia. Prussia. Your Prussia is excellent and so in-character and so a-alone and you seriously-- just have my bleeding, broken heart. Have it. Take a couple internets into the bargain. Because.

Because your writing has the emotional punch of a nuclear bomb. It went off in my brain. Therefore, you get incoherance.

East just leans against his brother in silence and knows that West cannot understand. I think I may have cried out. Prussia, so alonnnee. T.T

I actually had to pause several times in the reading of this; your imagery is really powerful. You realise that this is going on a one-way track to my memories, yes?♥

*flails generally in your direction* *mem's*

O-oh wow, I never expected this sort of response! I'm incredibly flattered to hear that this had such an impact on you.

Poor Prussia really is alone. Boy needs hugs or something.

And I'm honored to join your memories!

Pffffff oh no no no no no, this is very much compatible with my personal head canon (it's history; I'm allowed as many interpretations as I want). I think I kinda sorta fucking love you, ok?

Seriously, this is wonderful. Your Prussia is fantastic--his awareness of what's happening to him, his bitterness, the flashbacks to his dissolution--it's pretty much everything I could ask for in a GDR fic and MORE, because your writing is so impressive.

The play on name changes and the tension between West and East were perfect, particularly towards the end with the mention of Germany's people and sfsajkh. You nailed it.

And dear God. Cold War-era Russia-Prussia interaction. My favorite thing ever. I love the manipulation and coercion going into the creation of East Germany, not to mention the ominous pact-sealing symbolism of that scarf. And and and you mentioned Kaliningrad and the fucked up border control at the wall and things were very historical and aaaahhhhh let's make a baby.

One teensy tiny point of interest-- I believe the Wall was erected principally by East German forces, without direct involvement by the Soviets. So even if it wasn't Gilbert's idea, his people certainly thought it was theirs. But honestly, that really doesn't affect the impact of that passage in the slightest. I just think it makes the character dynamic there all the more screwy.

You have no idea how gratifying it is to hear that you like it! I mean you're the reason I'm such a Prussia fangirl s-so yeah.

Kaliningrad is made of delicious possible tension okay. As for the border control, while I ended up researching it a bit on my own, I admit that you kind of taught me that one! It is a cycle of some kind.

BABY IS YES.

Oh wow, this is what I get for not studying things enough. W-what the hell is wrong with you Gilbert. WALL = BAD.

Dead and dying.

You say this is about the people. I think you're not giving yourself enough credit--this is beautiful, how it uses the humanity to color the history and then turns that right back on itself, using the history to color the humanity...yes. Very much yes. And Prussia IS too awesome to go, and you have a fabulous handle on him. Beautifully done.

Thank you so much for all the compliments! ♥ I tried to turn it into a bit of a feedback loop, yeah, but I worried what with, you know, someone missing Prussia spawning East Germany which I'm pretty sure wasn't the case. But I'm glad it worked out in a way that makes sense to people!

...

*goes to cry in a corner*

You will always be awesome to me, Prussia. ;o;

Prussia will be awesome in our hearts. ;_;

*worships*

BRB crying my eyes out T-T *bawls*

N-no need for worship! Sorry about the tears.

This is wonderful and I always fail at writing suitable comments, because this is a really wonderful fic. D: Adding to memories.

I'm honored to join your memories, and glad you like the fic! ♥

*is crying somewhere* Oh, Prussia! *sob*

OMG AISU

;____________________;

*crais moar*

I was really hoping that someone would do this sort of a perspective on the subject, and by all means you have indeed done so beautifully.

Thank you so much for a wonderful read!

So glad that I could fill a wish for you! ♥

...After the last line, I couldn't hold it in anymore. -joins in the crying choir-

The Wall falling down. Shit, that gave me some awesome mental images. Just like a movie. I think that scene would be pretty darn amazing if it was animated. Seriously.

..I think you just broke my heart (but it seems like I'm not the only one..uhuhuhu) with this thing of Prussia dying. HISTORY CAN BE SO PAINFUL SOMETIMES WHEN YOU KNOW HETALIA. ;__; But all-in-all, I really liked this. -puts into Favourites-

Alas, I doubt it's likely that anyone will animate my fic. XD; Still, it's a neat idea!

Yeah, so much of history makes me go "D:" twice as much now because of Hetalia.

I'm so glad you like it!

I'M GOING TO CRYYYY! ;-;
This is to amazing and...
OMG, PRUSSIAAA! ;-;
Damn, I can't write comment propertly, because I totally obsessed with this fanfic now!
PRUSSIAAAA! ;-;
Ok, later I'll write how much I love it. Now, know that I totally love it and you're my master. 8D

I'm so glad you like it so much! ♥ I can't wait to see your later writing.

I cried. That's amazing. Spectacular. It's going in my memories, if you don't mind.

Of course I don't mind! I'm glad you liked it. Thank you for the memory!

I know most of what's in my head has already been spoken by everybody here, still....

Oh God, Prussia, the scarf, symbolism, brotherly love, Russia (!), and did I mention symbolism? (shed manly tears)

The reunification part is my favourite, especially when Gilbert's loosing the connection with his people. My belief in "nations and human are connected" grows bigger because of that part ;o;

I'm so glad you liked the fic! ♥

Yeah, I'm very much for the idea that nations feel their people in some way, as you can probably tell from the fic.

Woah, woah, that was amazing and very emotionally powerful. I love brotherly relationship between Prussia and Germany, and Prussia's personality is really strong in this one. Just... awesome. And Russia! Oh god, I adore him too.

Thank you so much! I'm glad to hear I got people right. ♥

...that was beautiful...almost cried there...

I...I loved it...I can't express it in words...

Sorry...so many dots...I loved it...

i am crying right now. this is so brilliant, but so sad. poor prussia.

this just so beautiful and well written and sad and my heart is literally broken.

thank you for writing this.

Ah, I found this on fanfic recommendations and oh wow I am -SO- glad I read this. I was so amazing. Like many comments have probably said, the imagery and emotions where so strong.

I have to say that the scarf Russia gives East/Prussia...The imagery I got from him not wanting to take it off (was there a bit of symbolizm/meaning in that? It seemed like that too me. .W.~)that along with the breaking down the wall really got to me, and at the end when it mentions 'they were never his people' or something along those lines ( I need to re-read this so I can remember everything in detail) my eyes watered, and right after I'd finished reading this I cried.

Basicly through all my babbling: I love it. ;A;~ This is an amazing work. Would you mind Terribly if I tried to draw something based off this fic...? I would give a link to the story so others could see. (That also being if I dont get lazy. OTL;;; )

I'm so glad you liked it! Thank you for the compliments, and I'd give you a tissue if I could.

The scarf was very much meant to be a symbol - the idea was that it was slowly strangling him, like Russia's control (hence the title of the story), but also the only thing holding him together and keeping him away from death (the cold he always felt). B-but I feel like I may be giving too much away, hahaha...

I would love to have art based off of this! ♥ Please comment here again if you draw it!

http://chaostearkitsune.deviantart.com/art/APH-Choking-140408716 Here's a link to the fanart I promised awhile back, Im sorry for the wait! ;w;~ <3

Ah, thank you so much~! It's lovely! They both look so sad...

what a sad story, but I love it! Berlin Wall is always a dark topic for prussia...poor guy, your last sentence really breaks my heart.

by the way, can I post your article in my blog? of cause all your rights reserved.

Thank you very much! ♥

Of course! Just do link back here, and I'd love to see the post if you're willing!

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