R
literature

Reflection

271 109 6K (1 Today)
Published: May 8, 2011
'Twice I have failed. Twice I have shamed. Twice I have been nothing more than a disgrace to your people. They aren't mine any longer; I am not fit to care for them. Please forgive me Gilbert. I have done nothing but coloured your name in ignominy.'


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He refused to look to his brother as armed guards took them to the holding cell. Guilt ate at him, his intestines twisting and knotting as wave after wave of self-disgust hit him. It was all he could do not to curl into a ball on the cold concrete floor and die. Glossed blue eyes stole a glance upward from their intent gaze at his feet. What had he done to his brother? The albino in front of him limped along, a bullet wound to his hip during their final stand in Berlin, and one shoulder hanging down a little more than the other. This was the first time they had seen each other since he had surrendered, he felt ashamed to not have noticed the other's broken shoulder during the hearing. No, he had been too heartbroken, the organ in his chest mangled, as he saw the fire burning in the single ruby eye. Those flames said everything he knew Prussia would never say. The mere second that they raged brightly, before erecting an emotional wall to hide from him, in those moments, he could have died. Everything they had dreamed of, everything they had hoped for, he had obliterated with his two hands in less than a century.

"How could you do this to me?"

'I don't know.'

"Why did you do this?"

'I don't know.'

"What were you thinking?"

'I don't know.'

"I hate you."

'I know.'


His throat tightened considerably, an even heavier weight plunging into his body, his footsteps sounding heavier, thudding against the floor in a way that the echo was louder than his actual feet. With each fall of his boot, the echo became louder, stronger, until it sounded like the bombs of the Luftwaffe exploding on the small figurines that ran in terror beneath them. They stopped at a prison cell with a high barred window that gave a small strip of darkening sky to behold. They were both motioned to enter and they did. He didn't know whether he was lucky the Allies had even let them stay together or severely unlucky, but 'why' was a question he refused to ask. He would not look at their 'gift' with skepticism, hoping only for the best between the Germanic countries, though he knew there was no such thing as hope with the sky a rectangle gnarled by steel bars.

Germany was exhausted in more ways than one. Worn as a nation, worn as a person, he could collapse under his own weight as he shuffled to the bunk and crawled on top the covers, too fatigued to pull the thin blankets over his body. His emotions raced through him like adrenaline that should have long since died off, he wouldn't be able to sleep, no matter how hard he tried, or how deeply he wished. For hours they sat in silence, Gilbert standing with his back to the wall, his one visible eye closed, opening from time to time to look out the window, determining the time, something Ludwig still didn't have down to the precision that the older nation did. Still, he knew it was getting late as the blue of the tranquil sky came alight in the dying fire of the sun. How much longer must they sit in torment, their emotions boiling over? The sky became dark, the stars twinkling out in the distance, holding memories of happy times.


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The sky was never black during those times, even with the moon absent in the sky like that night. The summer breeze of the night rustled the mulberry leaves as the stars lit the entire earth. They littered the sky like pieces of silver, twinkling in the deep indigo that seemed to stretch forever. They made such peculiar shapes that his father country pointed out with much enthusiasm. Germany sat on Prussia's lap, looking up to the heavens, following the ghostly pale light that traced the pinpricks of the night.

"Why are all these animals in the sky?"Ludwig asked. Not only had Gilbert named off two bears, but a scorpion, bull, lion, winged horse, and sea serpent that lived their lives among the stars.

The albino chuckled, the blonde feeling the rapid rise and fall of the other's chest under his head. "Well, I'm not sure. I hear that a man down south to the east found them. He lives with the Ottoman Empire, but he has many stories about the Sky Animals."

"Oh," Ludwig felt a little put out. He couldn't know about the animals, not since the man was so far away and the Ottomans weren't the nicest people to walk up to. Not that they were very mean either, but he heard many contradictory stories about the respectable/barbaric peoples to the east. He had simply chalked it up to 'do not bother them'.

Suddenly, the warm lap that Germany had been resting on fell away and was replaced by the sturdy shoulders of the young man. "It's getting late little man," Prussia joked. Ludwig had always been more serious than himself; Gilbert knew he could trust him from that alone. "Let's head back."

"Can we get one more thing?" the blonde asked timidly, looking at the large trees heavy with fruit. The wine-coloured eyes zoned in on the low hanging branches and laughed. They walked home, Germany on his shoulders as they shared a handful of mulberries.



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He felt the warm tears fall to his shaking hands and a strangled kneeing emanated from his throat. His heart felt like it was being carved out of his chest, the beating was just so hollow. He felt so small again, even though he was already his brother's height. How could this have happened? What had possessed him to act so recklessly? Even Prussia, even Bismarck, even Gilbert had told him not to seek more. Why did he not listen! "Gilbert," he cried softly, burying his face into his cold hands, wanting more than anything to reach out for comfort but too ashamed of his failure to do so. Guilt, shame, despair. "I . . . I'm . . . sorry, I'm so sorry Gilbert. I'm sorry for everything. I didn't mean for any of this to happen." His body wracked with sobs, wanting nothing more than death, which he may actually get. The arms that wrapped around him were nostalgic, comforting. The whispers were soothing, but they also tore him to shreds.

"It's alright. It'll be okay. It wasn't your fault."

Alright? Okay? Not his fault? Why did these well meaning words bite and sting, writhing in his chest and strangled his heart? Why did Gilbert lie to him? Why did he always take the blame for his mistakes? Why did he always come to help him? If only he had been left for dead, then none of this would have happened.


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He opened his eyes, the first sight in his memory to behold, the sanded wood of a house that was more a small cottage home. It was modestly made by hand and sweat, but extravagant in that context. Diligence, pride, and care went into building it, which was obvious in the way the boards fit almost to perfection. The second thing he could remember was the sound of a tree in the gentle breath of mid-spring. The soft rustling of the leaves sounded almost like rain, cascading in a wave of union. After that, he heard what sounded like a person, a creak of a bucket and the sloshing of water, footsteps on gravel, and the songs of birds. Many birds. They chirped in various pitches, some even flew in so close he could hear their wings flapping. One landed on a nightstand in the peripherals of his vision. The third thing that hit him was tremendous pain at trying to sit up. He involuntarily cried out as the stitch in his torso seared.

Whoever was outside ran to him, the crunch of the stones increasing their pace. The creak of a door opening drew his eyes as he tried catching his breath, the anguish becoming a dull throb. Sky blue eyes could only made out shoes and skinny, pale ankles sticking out like twigs from under brown pants that only reached the wearer's shins. The tin bucket was placed on the ground, clear water reflecting the early morning light.

"Well hey there," a voice chuckled, "It's nice to see you eyes open. You've been sleeping for quite a while."

The language spoken was so similar to his own he understood most of what was said. He groaned, a numbness taking over the burn across his torso, at least he wasn't in unbearable pain. "How long have I been asleep?"

"Nearly a month now. Careful, I'm not a surgeon or anything, so the stitches are pretty bad. I'm sorry if they scar."

To say the stitches were bad was a bit of an overstatement, seeing as anyone who had seen battle would have known of worst, but since he had never seen battle, not to his knowledge anyway, so yes, the stitching looked absolutely horrible. The silk threads crisscrossed his chest and if he moved too much he could feel the threads pulling taunt against his back. "What happened? Who are you?" Taking a better look at his savior, the first trait that caught his attention was the wine-coloured eyes that both intrigued and terrified him. The other features slowly added in, the snow white skin with slightly darker hair but only barely. The man looked like a ghost dressed in a large white shirt and dark brown peasant-like pants.

"You . . . don't remember?" he looked utterly surprised before giving a small smile that spoke of knowledge of years, "Ah, well, that's expected I guess. I'm Gilbert or Prussia if you want to think in that way."

For an odd reason, the man calling himself a country made absolute sense, "What happened?"

"I found you, you looked pretty beaten up and, well, I remember you, so being a nice guy I fixed you up," he chuckled getting tin cups from a cupboard and filling them both up with water. This Gilbert wasn't telling him something and he knew it, but about what he didn't know.

He took the cup gratefully and drank, not realizing he had been so thirsty until the cool liquid hit the back of his throat. He gulped it down heartily, a trickle of clear water dribbling down his chin before he finished and handed it back to Prussia, silently asking for more. Gilbert laughed and refilled the cup, "What about you? What do you remember?"

"I remember," his voice drifted off as he started to think. What did he remember? He remembered his language, obviously, he remembered . . . fire. Screaming and the glint of something metal in the orange lights set forth from hell. But something identifying, a name or country, was not coming to him. "I remember nothing."

"Not even your own name?" Gilbert asked incredulously, handing the tin back. He drank just as sloppily, as though he was desperate to prove that he was alive with basic needs. Once the cup had been emptied a second time, his belly swelling with water, he sighed content, but shook his head in answer. The red eyed men looked thoughtful, "Well, you have a dialect from the southern states, and seeing as you did live through . . . whatever it was that harmed you, you are a country." It wasn't a question, and the way he spoke made it easy to discern that this Prussia knew what had happened to him, but he said nothing. "How about I call you Ludwig until we can determine your country's name, if it even has a name yet," he laughed, "I'll be back in a little bit with food, don't move around too much. I want you to stay in one piece. See you soon Ludwig."

"Yes, soon . . . Prussia."

"Gilbert, call me Gilbert," the albino laughed, "You're my little brother now, no need for formalities." And with that, he disappeared.

Ludwig watched the door suspiciously, as though expecting Gilbert on the other side to be waiting and listening, but he could hear footsteps retreating from the home. He should be dead, he knew that, but he wasn't. Maybe Prussia wanted to protect him from something? He didn't know, and best not to look at this miracle with cynical eyes. He carefully snuggled back under the hand woven blanket, exhausted from thinking too much. He hoped Gilbert would be back soon though, he really was hungry.



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The sound of loud keys awoke him, when had they slipped off to sleep? He pushed the irrelevant thought away, he should be more aware of the figure in the door of the cell. Russia stood proud as a silhouette, the light behind him bright and painful. What did he want? Germany sat up, placing himself as a human barrier between Gilbert and Ivan. It was the least he could honestly do. The lights flickered out and the room was then illuminated by the dusty rose of the coming dawn, the sky growing red.

"Good morning," Ivan chirped happily, his violet eyes reflecting the early morning light in a way that brought back Adolf's words. A demon, a monster; that was all the USSR was. He shivered slightly, the feelings of the past years encroaching upon him. A hand gripped his shoulder, reminding him of the present. Adolf was dead, abandoning him with a bullet to the head. "How are you both?"

"Exhausted," Gilbert sighed as though this was a casual conversation after a long day of errands. Oh how he wished he could fall into their effortless speech, but if he were to open his mouth he was sure it would sound just as terrified as he felt.

Russia nodded, "I understand. That was a very emotional time for you back there, especially with how you are physically. It isn't healthy, but some things cannot wait. Sadly, I cannot tell you that the worst is behind you." New trembles emerged. What were the Allies going to do to them? Was it going to be like Versailles? What could he possibly do! Ivan continued, "I thought I should come down here and give you an idea of what will happen, just so you can spend the rest of your time together to the fullest. You see, America and I have a deal going on right now that has been in effect for a while. The conditions were that I declare war on Japan and align myself with the U.S. As you both know, Japan fell by America's hand, dropping two horrific bombs on civilians without care. Still, I kept my end of the deal, and the United States will want to turn away from a war with me. As such, I will be granted full reign over Eastern Europe, including half of Germany. That is, you Gilbert."

"Half . . . of me?" Ludwig questioned aloud. How was Gilbert half of him? If anything he would be lucky to even consider himself a fraction of the glorious country that preceded him.

"Despite what the other countries think or do, I have always held respect for you. However, I had no choice in the matter; you know how absolute rulers are. Prussia has been pretty much dissolved by Control Council Law No. 46."

Germany jumped to his feet, a hand holding onto the elder's arm. Gilbert looked even paler than before, death creeping upon him by the second. "Th-that's impossible! One cannot destroy a country that doesn't exist at the time!" He admitted it, he had swallowed up his caretaker and brother, long before the Allies ever decided to stick their noses into the issue.

"I understand where you are coming from Ludwig, but this law does more than dissolve Prussia. It makes the existence of the country, even the name, illegal. As of right now, the name of Prussia shall be wiped out from every human's mind," the USSR explained, looking out the high window. The sky was in flames, the early morning clouds streaked in orange highlights. There was no silver lining under them, only the colours of hell and destruction. "Taking pity on your brother, however, Germany has been divided. Gilbert represents the East side, the one that I shall reform. You, Ludwig, will be shown mercy by the other three. They will take care of you and show you how to be a 'Good Capitalist'." The way he snickered under his breath sent electrical jolts of terror down the blonde's spine.

The albino regained his wits and looked up, his single eye pleading, "W-what did you say?"

"You are not entirely gone. As commissioned by America and I, you are now called East Berlin, or Kaliningrad, as we have changed the name of your Königsberg. You will be coming home with me at the end of the trials. Your brother Germany, or rather, West Berlin will be taken care of by the other three Allies."

"W-will we be able to see each other again?" Gilbert asked slowly, his voice quivering with fear.

"Sadly, no." A guard arrived and informed Russia about the meeting. With his final advice, the tall nation retreated back out the room, dragging his leg behind him.

Ludwig wanted to die. He wanted to pull out his unkempt hair and scream. Why! Why did Gilbert always have to be the self-less one! Why did he have to always think of Ludwig first! What would happen to him in the USSR? Did he not care for the hatred the others would feel for him! Did he only care about how his little brother would go along without him being able to check up on him? What tore him apart were the tears. No, Gilbert shouldn't be crying for him! Gilbert should be strong, uphold his honour and fight! Or even scorn Ludwig to his face so his heart could finally die! Not cry over their separation. He pulled Gilbert close, crying into the rough fabric of the military uniform. It wasn't as coarse as the old uniform.


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Ludwig grunted under the weight of the large basket, he was still young, but growing every day, learning and becoming stronger. Still, Gilbert stood on the other side of the woven bassinet, not even looking strained as he held up his end effortlessly. Prussia was perfect, powerful, a world power of Europe. Ever since the Seven Years War, Gilbert was both revered and hated. Regardless, Ludwig looked up to the albino with awe and adoration, but it made him feel weaker than ever. "Will . . . I ever be as strong . . . as you Gilbert?" They placed the basket under the tree, Gilbert falling to the base of the trunk and immediately munching on the ripe fruits.

"Of course! I am the one training you, aren't I?" the albino laughed, biting another mulberry off its stem. He was a sloppy person in life, and precise in war, how odd. The deep violet juice trickled down his chin, dying the canvas of skin a sort of indigo colour. He closed his eyes, enjoying the moment. Why always in the moment? Didn't Gilbert think of the past or even plan for the future? That was all the young German could think about: tomorrow and the years beyond. His eyes drawn to the military hat with its raven feather and deep colours, his mind being drawn to a day that he would wear the crown, just as Gilbert had promised. Would he be good enough? Would he reach Gilbert's expectations?

The sudden weight of the Prussian-Blue coat on his shoulders brought him out of his thoughts, followed by the dumping of the feathered hat upon his head. The width was too big and the brim fell over his eyes deep enough to block his vision to within a few inches off the ground. He pushed the article back on his head, looking up at a chuckling Prussia, his face reddening in embarrassment. Had Gilbert only done this to tease him? The red eyes looked him over, a calm smile gracing his lips. Prussia was hardly ever calm, only when things were important. A firm hand comforted Ludwig's frail shoulder. If one felt thoroughly, they would still be able to make out the indent of a healed wound of years past.

"Keep working and growing stronger, don't leave your people to toil alone, for you are them and they are you. Keep the memories strong and don't repeat my mistakes, make your own. You will fill – outgrow even – this old jacket, one day. You will become so mighty and great that the entire world will tremble beneath your awe-inspiring power. I will leave everything to you in due time, and when that time comes do not cower back from duty and responsibility. You are the future of Prussia, Ludwig, and I hold all faith in you."



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He clenched the fabric with a fervent passion, his entire life seeming to cascade around his ears. Desolation, helplessness, grief, shame, it was as though he sat under a multitude of waterfalls raining down his misfortunes as the world watched on, viewing him under a microscope of cynicism and distrust. And in the end, through thick and thin, the one person who had always been there for him he had left. No, he destroyed Prussia, the Allies just marked the grave he had dug, all that was left was to lower his brother, still so full of spirit and life, into the abyss and cover it back up for no one to find. "I'm so sorry brother," Ludwig sobbed into Gilbert's jacket, his shoulders shaking from the emotions, "I failed you. I'm so sorry. How could I have let this happen? Oh god! I have betrayed you."

"No, you haven't."

When he looked into the hazy dead eye, he knew the other was lying.


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Silence loomed over them as they sat in the cell, Germany back on the bed as Prussia gazed longingly out at the pale blue moon. It was mid-morning, noon fast approaching before descending back into night. He could only wish that some form of problem arose. The Allies were never on good terms with one another. Perhaps they could steal away one more day. Perhaps they decided against splitting them up. Perhaps . . . perhaps . . . he buried his face in his hands before running his fingers through the blonde locks that fell into his face. Why did he bother fooling himself anymore? Prussia was gone. Gilbert hated him. Hell, he hated himself. Nothing ahead of him. Nothing behind him. What was he to become now? He could recall the day that jacket fit. He could see it clear as day.


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Ludwig stole away into Gilbert's room, the small cottage of centuries before having become a modern home with two stories and a vast garden. Prussia's prestige and acclaim was growing! Under Bismarck they had defeated France and now all the German states were united. At the time, Gilbert was off at a meeting with Bismarck and the newly crowned Kaiser, leaving the teenaged blonde to his own devices. He had been cleaning his brother's room, something the owner never actually did for himself, when the deep blue of the coat caught his eye; thrown into the back of the wardrobe like so many other outfits of the years.

It was preserved well through loving care that no fanatic could match. He also saw other knickknacks, a small white outfit that Gilbert used to let him play with, a black cross on the front with its matching cape hanging on the iron wrought hook. It was well worn from both Gilbert and Ludwig, the ends of the fabric frayed and unraveling. A small pang hit Ludwig's chest, as though something vital to his existence was being lost, but it was hardly noticeable in significance.

Pulling out the jacket, he carefully pulled the hanger out of it. He only resembled a young man of sixteen or seventeen, but was already the same height as Gilbert, the albino joking about how he would be a 'Little-big brother'. He smiled at the thought; outgrowing Gilbert had been one of his goals since that day under the mulberry tree. Taking a deep breath, he shrugged on the coat. It was as though he wore a thousand years on his shoulders, the weight of war and the elation of joy.

He felt so many things, too many things. Things he couldn't understand. Things he'd never understand. Opening his blue eyes, he turned to the mirror on the other side of the room, gasping in surprise. The deep blue of the coat didn't look like he had imagined. It looked wrong, off in a way he couldn't understand. When the same jacket draped over Gilbert's frame, it looked so utterly right. He closed his eyes to re-picture the albino in his military uniform before opening them and comparing it with himself. There was no denying it. It wasn't suited for him.

"I see it finally fits," a voice at the door called, Gilbert stood, leaning against the door frame, his arms crossed in a relaxed state. He didn't look mad, actually he looked quite please, that calming smile on his face once again.

Ludwig flushed, fingering the light fabric, "I-I'm sorry. I was cleaning and I thought-."

"Don't apologize. It's perfectly fine. You have every right to be wearing it," Gilbert reassured the younger, bating the apology away like a fly. "I have something very important to tell you."

The blue eyes found red once more, "What is it?"

"The Kaiser was crowned today, as you know," Gilbert explained, holding up his own weight and walking over to the blonde German, as it was, Ludwig was a centimeter taller. "And today is the day you fit into that old jacket." Paper white fingers slipped under the hem, fussing with the collar like a mother seeing off her son. It unnerved Ludwig, the melancholy and pride that raged war in those wine-coloured irises. Gilbert then took the shoulders of the coat and pushed them off of Ludwig's shoulders. "Now it is time for you to outgrow it."

"What do you mean?" Ludwig asked, watching in shock as the albino hung the clothing back up again, as though it had never been touched.

When he turned around, all that showed to the blonde was pride. No other emotion was visible, just an overwhelming wave of pride. "Ludwig, I feel you're ready to take my place." Shock hit him like a punch in the gut, causing him to fall back against the bed. "Bismarck believes so too, as does Wilhelm. I'm out of time Ludwig, Prussia is no longer needed in the world. Now they have you." He knelt on one knee, as though Ludwig was a king of kings, giving him praise and honour that he didn't deserve. "I swear to be here always if you need me. If you seek my advice or need someone to confide in because shadows loom all around you. I will always be here, regardless of whichever road you choose. I serve the German Empire. I serve Germany."



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'Why? You knew I wasn't like you. You knew I wasn't anything compared to you. Why did you place such trust in me? Why did you not tell me the truth?'

The clang of a door opening and slamming shut brought his head up. It was over already? Three uneven strides approached them: the steady, even ones of America without a pain to his body, the brisk, fast pace of England, the gentleman on his way to a very important matter, then the sharp crack of France's shoes on the cement. He had only seconds before they were to be separated for God knew how long! He looked to Gilbert, hoping for something, anything. Nothing. He stared at the door, not meeting eye contact. Not caring to even recognize Ludwig's existence. Keys rattled and the door swung open. Only three men stood, two of whom looked worse for wear, and yet he felt as though he was looking into the eyes of the reaper.

"Germany," America announced, his mouth forming the words soothingly, not as though it was poison in his mouth like Ludwig had expected, "Please come with us."

He stood, eyes darting between the pale figure huddling in the farthest courner of the room and the three men who came to take him away. He felt so small, so young. He was nothing but a child compared to all these other nations. He had only been a formal country since 1871! Even America had a century and a half, at least, under his belt. He took a single step forward before being halted by none other than France.

"Leave the Cross."


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"This is our soul. The glory and pride of the Germanic the people, specially crafted with our iron found in the lands we embody. This is what we are."


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He caressed the cool metal a moment longer before slipping the slender chain from around his neck, a chunk of his heart feeling torn out of his chest. As one last show of loving tenderness, he laid it over the thin cover on the bed, his eyes lingering longer than he had wished, but he exited the room. The two Europeans walked in front of him, slightly off to either side where as America walked behind him. In case he tried anything, they were ready to strike him down.

"What about Gilbert?" he asked softly, his voice hoarse and cracking from all his crying before.

No one looked him in the eye, even though the Angelo countries ahead peeked over their shoulders skeptically. Alfred was the one to speak, his voice dark with hatred, "It is best you forget he ever existed. In time, he probably won't be around anyway."


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Watching the skies, his stomach growled angrily in want. He had received a message by telegram that they were coming to help him. The USSR on the other side of the 'border' was like a snake, tempting him with forbidden fruit on the other side. As it was, the violet eyes bore into his back as he walked along. One crisis after another it seemed, his life couldn't possibly get worst. The buildings were still in shambles in Berlin from the years prior, and his economy had just begun to get back on its feet. The faint hum of aeroplanes in the distance perked his ears, as well as all those in the streets and buildings. People flooded out to the streets, children ran out waiting for the small parachutes to fill the sky full of chocolate paratroopers.

"You still wait for your keepers to bring you everything," the dark voice sang behind him. He refused to turn, watching the little ones rush to catch falling bars. "And you so fervently keep your distance from me."

"I just want to rebuild my home," he muttered, still not turning around, even though he could now feel the warm breath on the back of his neck. It was all he could do not to react.

"But your home is with me," the USSR cooed gently. Ludwig simply shook his head. That wasn't his home anymore. "As well as your brother."

His back stiffened. It had been a little over three years and this was his first time actively remembering Gilbert. What did he look like again? He may have changed. What was he doing? How was his health? Was he . . . happy on the other side? Would they see each other soon? All the meetings that had happened between East and West always had one of them missing. It was annoying that they couldn't even see each other. Not even in their dreams.


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The mulberries were ripe once again, the sweet fruits piled in the basket that now looked smaller than it had all those years ago. He hated these trees. They reminded him of the good times, the times that they lived for themselves and not their people; the times when they were truly brothers and not kingdoms or countries. They reminded him that he had a heart. Out of his peripheral vision he could see the pale hand reaching into the basket; he looked so thin, so ghostly, almost like he was dead. Ludwig buried his face in his hands and cried. "I'm sorry! Please, forgive me! I never meant for this Gilbert! I-I am sorry." Oh how he wanted to say more. Say that he would return Prussia's glory, wanted to say that he'd reunite them, wanted to say everything and anything, but no. He had nothing to offer, only apologies. He saw Gilbert begin to turn, but the peaceful scene suddenly was destroyed, he found himself alone under the mulberry tree, looking east. The countryside was engulfed in flames.


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"Don't you wish to see him?" Russia asked tauntingly. Ludwig knew the price though, and he knew the will of his people. AT the same time, he wanted; more than anything, to cross that border and see Gilbert for himself. He turned for the first time, wetting his lips to speak, looking into those promising violet eyes.

"What the fucking hell are you doing here Commie," another voice cut in sharply. Ludwig turned away from the USSR and stared at a very ominous America in his pilot uniform. His blue eyes glared fiercely at the taller nation who simply giggled in response. "You ain't needed here bastard, take your red ass back over the fucking border."

"Such big talk for someone with a frail grip on Germany. I was simply offering him some food," Ivan smiled, "But now that you're here, I have no further purpose. Good day to you Ludwig, be careful you do not miss your opportunity." And with that he walked back over the border, his scarf trailing behind him.

America's hand landed with some force on Ludwig's shoulder, as though they were good friends. "Is he telling me the truth? He was over here just to offer some food?"

"Yeah," Ludwig spoke softly, "Just some food." He knew the right things to say, and often than not it wasn't the real answer.


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"Ludwig!"

"Gilbert?"

"Ludwig! Help me!"

Fire engulfed the eastern side; all he could hear were screams.



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Ludwig jolted awake, perspiration slicking his bare torso, his heart racing at an improbable speed. He felt the adrenaline, fear, his body shook with it. Retreating to his bathroom, he splashed icy water onto his face, but the sound of screams wouldn't leave him. The clock on the wall announced the time as 4:56. Hurriedly clothing himself, he ran outside and over the border.


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It was three days since the first time they met. Well, if one could call it a meeting. He had seen his brother through the high window on the second story of the building Russia had constructed for him. It looked nice n the outside, and he knew that not only Gilbert lived there. Hungary, Poland, and Bulgaria were a few of the others who had been taken in. A fence surrounded the compound, keeping him out even if he wanted to go in. The sky had not begun to lighten, and the cold of the season was burning. After throwing a pebble he had dug out of the frozen blanket that covered the ground, he leaned his back against the tree, waiting. Only one should do the trick, unless Gilbert had been sleeping. If so, he'd leave at the start of dawn. It wasn't long before the crunch of the snow under boots startled him. He whirled around to see a figure running towards him, defiantly not Russia. Russia would have simply appeared, for one. Two, this person was as white as the snow with shining red eyes. For the first time in many years, he smiled, reaching his hand through the bars of the iron fence. The fingers the wrapped around his hand were cold as death and thin to the point of skeletal.

"I've missed you," Gilbert whispered, his voice sounded hoarse, choked with many emotions. If he listened hard enough, he could even hear the sharpened point of fear. This was backed by how tight the grip around his hand was, as though the albino on the other side was holding on to life itself.

Ludwig smiled, his other hand reaching between the bars, gripping the shoulder to find it too big. He remembered this coat; Gilbert had had it for years. It used to fit perfectly, but now . . . now. "I've missed you too brother," he spoke equally quiet, "You feel cold and thin, are you being treated well?"

"I'm fine; it's nothing that'll kill me. How about you? You look better, much better," Gilbert changed the focus. He was too proud, always too proud to admit when he needed help. The clothes he wore were old and now too big. His face looked tired and gaunt, his hand shook from more than just the cold and he could feel the internal fighting to end the spasms.

Ludwig pretended not to notice, that was what the man on the other side would have wanted, "The Western Allies are boosting my economy and government. As it is, my people are prospering and moving forward. What has been happening over here?"

Thoughts railroaded across the red eyes. They said so much in such a short amount of time that the blonde couldn't register a thing. "We're . . . surviving."

"Gilbert?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you remember the mulberry trees?" Ludwig asked gently. They sat back to back, watching the sky dust red as the sun began to peek over the horizon, their hands entwined as though they could not let go for fear of never seeing each other.

There was a light squeeze on his hand, "Yeah. Those were some times, huh? Now everything seems to be moving so fast. I haven't felt so calm sitting still for the longest time."

"Yeah. When everything seemed to be right."

"Yeah. When we knew what it meant to be alive."

There was a long silence, the early birds chirping awake and fluffing their feathers.

"What happened?" Gilbert sighed. He suddenly sounded so old, so frail, exposed. The one question he had been holding in since their time in the cell waiting for their verdict.

Ludwig looked up at the blue-streaked sky for an answer. If anything could answer him, it didn't appear. He sighed as well. "I don't know brother."


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The passing months after, he went about life as normal. He didn't tell England about his little visit to his brother the day before. As it was, the Brit sat at the dining table drinking tea and reading the English version of the morning newspaper. It was usually silent between them, not that Ludwig minded, he preferred England to either America or France.

France had almost returned to his flamboyant self that truly was more annoying than anything Ludwig's memory could process. From what he recalled of the old Francis by the wild tales Prussia had recounted, this was how he usually was. America was more aggravated when he was around, easily upset. He once destroyed the house after finding a smuggled newspaper from the East side. It took a long time for the North American country to forgive him. Even still, Alfred watched him skeptically and asked him peculiar questions. It wouldn't even help to say that he was worried for his brother since they considered him nonexistent. It was as though the world ended at that border. He was washing the morning dishes when the conversation began, August 11, 1961.

"We got a complaint the other day," England called from his seat, not looking up to the one he was addressing.

Ludwig looked over his shoulder, unsure what the island nation meant, "About?"

"The USSR has proof of you crossing the border at two in the morning in January. Not only that, but he says his ward has also slipped over the border."

Gilbert had run off to see him since their first time at the start of the year. He would never forget the happiness he saw in those red eyes as they bought coffee, walked around Berlin, sat in the park and watched the children. Ludwig even bought a kite for them to fly, which they succeeded in obliterating in less than twenty minutes. What really made all those times worth it was the laughter. It brought life back to his brother; it brought life back to him. Of course, they hadn't seen each other in weeks due to something going on in the East. It had him a little worried and now he feared that this was the reason.

Ludwig dried off his hands, "And what is your purpose in bringing this up with me?"

"So it is true," Arthur sighed, folding the newspaper and placing down the teacup, completely emptied of its contents, "I was hoping you'd deny it, true or not."

"There is no reason to hide it."

"Yes there is," England snapped, smoldering green eyes glaring deep into Ludwig's gentle blue, "Now you make us look as incompetent as the bloody Red!" Ludwig looked down to his feet, not feeling remorse in the slightest, "I guess I need to make a phone call now."

"To who?"

"America," Arthur hissed, "He will not be pleased with you in the slightest. It might even be for the best."

"What?"

"The Russian's bloody wall. Doesn't matter, at least we know he isn't after you anymore."


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He stared at the graphitized wall, and watched as people on his side of the wall threw food to those on the other. Some had family, others friends. It was heartening to know that the East was not forgotten. He saw the little yellow bird hovering in the air and smiled, throwing the sack of preserved foodstuff over like the rest. The bird then flew over the wall and landed on his shoulder, a rolled up scrap of paper in its beak. He took the paper and the bird flew back, chirping happily to announce the message's arrival. As he walked from the wall, he opened the note.

'Hey West! Boring as fuck over here, that or the USSR is all "You're my bitch" and it's a real pain in the ass. I hope your life has brighter aspects than mine at the moment, but hey, we are all dealt a hand, just depends on what we do with it, though it does help to have an ace in the hole. Good luck to you; this will be my last letter in a while since Ivan is sort of picking up on the little weekly updates. He's taking my paper away. We'll see each other again another day, don't you worry about me. Just be sure you have a kite on hand when I come back. Gilbert.'


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At the home he placed the note into a small box, the key located in his pillowcase so the Allies could not open it. A small handful of letters filled the container, but they gave him some hope. Hope that the future would hold some meaning.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Time wears on, things change, cities change, people change, feelings change. One day he never arrived at the mulberry tree. One day he never threw over the provisions. One day he walked pass the wall. One day he didn't remember. One day he no longer cared. The mulberry tree, where was it? He never asked. What happened to the ghost on the other side of those cement walls? He never questioned. Nothing existed over there besides a land of dumped waste from those on his side. He walked through Berlin in his dreams, he went about his day. There was no such thing as the mulberry tree.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Did you hear?" Alfred asked, sitting at the dining table, both eating their breakfast that Ludwig had prepared. The European nation looked up curiously from his cup of coffee. Alfred continued without him needing to say a word, "Yup, the border is open now. The Commies got nothing going for them. They agreed to drop the wall and you'll be Germany again."

The wall coming down? That was the most absurd notion he had ever heard. Why would they want the wall to come down? What could possibly be on the other side that was worth anything? Trash, that's what the whole thing was. The economy of the GDR was horrendous, the people were practically beasts. That's what America always told him anyway. Their riots and everything, the tank fire had sent the entire West Side into a silent shock, wondering if they would become casualties as well. "When?"

"Tomorrow, but I doubt you'll see him for a few days."

Him? Who was 'Him'? He hardly remembered anymore, what was the point in remembering the past; the future was what truly mattered. "I . . . see." It was a lie, he didn't see at all.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

His children brought sledgehammers, mallets; they laughed and called to those on the other side. He almost forgot people lived there at one time, now he recalled how closely tied the two sides were. Family lived on both sides, friends. It was quite a sight, he felt hollow however. He didn't have a care for this, despite the small tickle of joy his population felt. He looked on passively as hammers swung and holes were made. The East was resilient, hacking through for hours, almost nonstop until some hole was broken. Hands intermingled, voices cried out in elation, but one reached him over all the others.

"West!" a nostalgic voice called, a ghost of the past pushing their way towards him. Surprise was his greatest feeling at the moment. What was he doing here? He nodded in recognition however, his eyes cold and distant. The man before him looked so familiar, but he felt as tough he never knew him.

"What are you doing here?"

Confusion crossed the pale face, "I . . . came to see you. I've missed you, more than anything."

"You left your capital." They both knew what he was talking about: Königsberg.

Red eyes filled with so many emotions, but confusion dominated, confusion filled the emptiness. "You know me. My people are my heart, not a city. I follow them."

"I see," he muttered, turning his back on him, "You should have stayed on the other side."


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Summer, fall, winter, spring and summer again. So the loop of time continues. Things change, people change. Feelings like the waves of the sea, always the same, yet never the same. His life has nothing to do with the one under the stairs. Has nothing to do with the symbols or history. His own life is here, on the surface, in reality. Let the other wallow in the past, the future was bright and the old was dark. He was ready to move on, preferably without his ghostly reminder.
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Russia was cruel even in his supposed kindness. He bandaged Prussia's damaged eye with exaggerated care and a wide, silent smile. Prussia was gingerly manhandled to an antiquated chaise lounge with faded golden accents and a film projector was laid out on a low table nearby, an unlabeled reel of film propped up against it. "I was feeling nostalgic today," Russia said in a bright contrast to Prussia's stony silence.  The other nation regarded Russia with his one ruby-toned eye, lips pressed into a hard line and face impassive. Russia simply smiled at him sweetly and tweaked the albino's nose mockingly before turning to load the fil
This is my lil companion fic, which was made in tandem to this AMV I made: [link]

I hope you enjoyed, please comment and I guarantee you that I'll read it.

Broken: [link]
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Comments109
anonymous's avatar
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ostero88's avatar
ostero88Student Artist
ya know how much I cried... so very much... for reasons I don't know anymore...
TheArtifaz's avatar
Man, that was so sad! I was really hoping for a happy ending with the brothers hugging and being happy, but I guess is more acurate that way. Also, love the way you write. Really poetical :).

FAV
red-stained-december's avatar
red-stained-decemberHobbyist Writer
I don't think Poetical is a word XD But thank you nonetheless. ^^ I appretiate every comment.
kosmite's avatar
kosmiteStudent Filmographer
THAT LAST LINE. WHY GERMANY WHY. ;A;
It tore me up.
EmeraldSky69's avatar
Wow.... Just... Wow....
That is so sad, how could you do that, Ludwig? How could you do that to your brother?
All of that emotion packed into that wonderful piece of art moved me in so many directions, especially the part about the wall falling. I was so happy that Ludwig and Gilbert were going to be reunited, but then Ludwig's reaction just made me want to cry.
Well done, that was beautiful. I loved it. Thank you for the lovely reading experience. :) :heart:
red-stained-december's avatar
red-stained-decemberHobbyist Writer
My job is to give quality art in my best medium, and I have to say that I am quite proud of Broken and Reflection. I am so glad you enjoyed it. ^^
EmeraldSky69's avatar
You are doing your job quite well. ^_^
SparrowHawk-Toto's avatar
SparrowHawk-TotoStudent General Artist
Soo beautiful, yet sad...:heart:
SparrowHawk-Toto's avatar
SparrowHawk-TotoStudent General Artist
Soo beautiful, yet sad...:heart:
SparrowHawk-Toto's avatar
SparrowHawk-TotoStudent General Artist
You´re welcome! :love:
AtHuecoMundoForEver's avatar
AtHuecoMundoForEverHobbyist Traditional Artist
......I think I love you ! Meine Gott that was Amazing !!!
red-stained-december's avatar
red-stained-decemberHobbyist Writer
Then I love you too ^^ Thank you for reading.
KeyBladerr's avatar
KeyBladerrHobbyist Writer
That was really amazing. I just...I can't help but love the amount of emotion carefully strung together in these lines. It was so sad, and yet, it seems like it was meant to be. Still, it's tragic that Germany didn't remember him, and poor Gilbert, must have felt horrible knowing that his own brother would forget him. Really, really awesome (as Prussia would say) story my friend, please, keep writing! :)
red-stained-december's avatar
red-stained-decemberHobbyist Writer
^^ Danke~! I am very glad that you enjoyed the story. I wish I could be an author . . . but long books aren't good for me since I have a horrible attention span. But a ton of mini-stories would be wonderful XD I will always write though, you can't stop me~! ;D
KeyBladerr's avatar
KeyBladerrHobbyist Writer
You're welcome! =D You could be an author~ maybe some kind of book to where each chapter is its own story. That way it would be like a collection of one shots~! =D I look forward for more of your works!
red-stained-december's avatar
red-stained-decemberHobbyist Writer
I could rewrite Don't Leave Me Here and change all the names and a few details XD
KeyBladerr's avatar
KeyBladerrHobbyist Writer
Ha, ha~ recycle ideas! You never know but you just may have a best-seller there!
red-stained-december's avatar
red-stained-decemberHobbyist Writer
Aww, thank you TvT
KeyBladerr's avatar
KeyBladerrHobbyist Writer
Aw~ you're welcome!
REGirll's avatar
REGirllHobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh no, Germany how could you forget him? Gilbert gave you so much! How could you just push all of that away? He never stopped trying to see you....

You have no idea how many emotions are going through me right now. This is so beautifully written. So real yet so surreal. Even though this didn't have a happy ending i still loved it. It's now become one of my favorite Fics. Wonderful, wonderful job.
anonymous's avatar
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