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.
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.
One night he grabs a beer and heads out into the streets of
“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
“So angry, Gilbert,”
“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.
“Too late to undo it now,” he growls. “You destroyed
“So much hostility when I come for friendship!”
“The only catch is that you would have to help me out a little. As for
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.
“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.
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
“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!
“…It doesn’t matter either way.”
“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.
He’s relaxing for once after a long day of work on whatever the latest project is—some street that
There’s a knock at the door, but East already knows exactly who it is, so he doesn’t bother to open it.
Which, in some senses, he does.
East waves from the couch and
“Ah, great.” East grins a tiny bit. For once he thinks
“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
“It is a simple request, comrade.” There’s something dangerous in
“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.
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
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.
“Too many of your best were leaving. We need a strong work force for our side, yes?”
“What if I want to leave?” East shouts.
East has no response to this, and
The first gunshot sounds off somewhere down the Wall, and East closes his eyes and walks away from
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
“And what happens to me then?!” East shouts, his voice hoarse.
West leans back, looking startled. “What are you talking about, East…?”
“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.
Finally the section in front of him comes crashing down. West (
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,
“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…”
“’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?”
“Don’t call me that. Not now, not here. Call me by my name one more time.”
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—