Pairing: Prussia-centric, PruAus
Summary: Prussia dies, and attends his own funeral. Except that he doesn't die, and it's all hilarious. Really. De-anon from the Kink Meme.
Disclaimer: I do not own Axis Powers Hetalia, nor do I claim to. The following is a work of fiction.
The rain thickened and slanted.
From his spot on the terrace, Prussia smiled, watching as the still, stern backs of the nations closest to him slowly became pitted with silver marks of downpour. They seemed to sway, to heave in the rain under the strain of ordeal. It was hard to imagine, Prussia thought slowly, grinning mirthfully to himself (they thought he was dead!), how, exactly, they would go on without him there.
They almost did, he thought, against his better judgment, and though his spine twitched and his shoulders tensed at that sudden, unwelcome thought, he was powerless to halt the rushing onslaught of painful memories.
He remembered standing in a grey, nondescript room, cool from the air whimpering in through hair-thin cracks in the brickwork and the floorboards, holding a plastic telephone to his face. His brother, on the other end of that quivering line, was just a few walls, and a small stack of papers containing a stable financial system and a new, convertible, internationally reputable currency, away from him. He had stared at the chips in the paint, and the cracks in the walls, and he remembered how the cracks in his own body had begun to form about one year before this. He remembered waking in the middle of the night, drenched in an ice-cold sweat, panting, gulping down air as though his lungs were being opened for the first time in centuries. He remembered hearing from Russia, who was frightened and defensive, how Hungary’s border fence had opened the path between herself and Austria, and how thousands upon thousands of his ensnared citizens had begun pouring into West Berlin, and his brother’s waiting arms.
He remembered how the gaps between himself and Russia, and the rest of the world had expanded, stretching and cracking his body, tugging him by the guts and heartstrings, miles upon miles of tendon and sinew and veins back to his friends, his allies, his family.
And onwards and up, into the blinking white lights of death.
He remembered how throughout that summer, that hot, sticky summer that sat heavily upon his shoulders and passed in a blur, he shook. He remembered how he had slept less and less at night times, and instead tossed and turned for hours on end as he felt treaty after treaty, agreement after agreement being signed. He felt the dig and scratch of politicians’ pens working beneath his very skin. He remembered knowing little of the outside world, save for what his brother told him on their phone calls, living beneath the vacant, childish gaze of Russia. Sometimes he had wondered if the other nation really understood what was actually happening, and there had even been moments when he had thought it all very cruel. Somebody, he had thought, should have considered poor lonely Russia before unifying Germany. But he couldn’t say this, not with the machine already in motion, and so Russia went on living in blissful ignorance, whilst slowly, oh so slowly, Prussia felt his breaths shorten and his chest tighten.
He remembered his brother, over the telephone again, telling him how much Spain and France had missed him; how hard France had fought to see him freed, though his government had been against it.
He remembered thinking that France was an idiot. He was going to be free for one night; and then he would die.
He remembered being reunited with them all; he remembered how his brother looked so much older – or perhaps that was his eyes playing tricks on him – how he had grown into his bones, somewhat, and how his face was even more handsome than the last time they’d seen one another. He had felt a surge of brotherly pride – he’d shaped that, that strength and dignity, and then his little brother’s mouth had trembled, ever so slightly, and they had embraced, stiffly, awkwardly, but he had felt how tightly Germany’s fingers dug into his back, and they’d stood still, close together, for a long moment.
France and Spain had been there too, and the very second his brother had let go of him, half-smiling and somehow diminished, they’d fallen upon him like over-excited dogs, calling his name through laughter and tears, speaking in three different languages all at once, and he had hugged them back, his best friends, the ones who had stood with him since the beginning, a jumble of arms, and Francis had kissed his cheeks, and Antonio, the idiot, had prayed, and they could not stop laughing, though he didn’t know why, but it felt –
It had felt good.
He had felt better, lighter, warmer, happier.
Then they had drawn back from each other, in their tight circle, and Francis had swooped in for one final kiss, and Antonio, the daft bastard, had cried – cried! – and...and...
And Prussia blinked, hard, repeatedly, because something was fucking stuck in his eye; and he banged his head, not too hard, against one of the wet, wooden supports along the terrace.
“Stupid,” he muttered, sniffing a bit, because he was fucking wet and cold, that was all; and Gilbird whistled up at him.
He blinked again, rapidly, as though it would clear his head – and he thought instead of how he hadn’t died, how he’d been so awesome he had fucking conquered death! And how stinking drunk they’d gotten to celebrate –
He laughed, and then he laughed again, because he was awesome; and how could anyone ever be so dumb as to believe that he, the great Prussia, could ever receive so much as a scratch from a car crash? No, that couldn’t happen to him, no, no, no, no, no.
The lump of mourners out there in the garden moved a little; Prussia caught a glimpse of the minister shifting, his white collar and neck stark and cold against his black shirt and jacket, and all the other dull suits and coats and dresses huddled around him.
A funeral. He laughed again, hardly having to force it this time, and he pictured his big reveal at the end, when he would spring forth from the terrace, with a wild war-cry, just like he’d done back in the good old days, Gilbird swooping majestically at his side. Everyone would sob with joy, he thought, probably, and throw themselves at his feet, and kiss his boots, and he would grab that prissy-pants Austria, and throw him over one strong, manly shoulder, and Austria would moan with pure desire, and beg for Prussia to take him, there and then, because his awesomeness made him hot...
Yeah. That’s probably what would happen, he thought, and tried not to think about how Austria scowled and turned his fine nose up whenever he laid eyes on him.
No, there was no way Austria would say no.
Prussia sniggered once more, and the chill that had set in at those earlier, unnerving thoughts was shaken anxiously off. Honestly. Of course he couldn’t die! How would these pansies deal with life without him? He grinned widely, and folded his arms upon the wooden rail.
The sad, quiet gathering shifted a little as one sodden entity, swirling the cool, heavy air, and Prussia saw two figures step forth from the crowd to replace the solemn minister. One of them held a large, black umbrella. It was shaking and shuddering in a distraught grip; and the other had to reach out once or twice to steady it. Prussia squinted across the sodden grass; pursing his lips as he strained to make out the figures; one was elegantly dressed, in an incredibly expensive-looking three-piece suit, all black, save for a thin, crimson tie cutting a slice down the centre of his chest; the other’s outfit was a little rumpled, a little tired, a little creased from sobs. They turned together as they reached his painting – and Prussia saw at once who it was.
France and Spain. France and Spain, pale and drawn and wet and absolutely distraught.
Christ on a bike, they were going to have some laughs later! He felt sharp, disbelieving chokes of amusement beginning to rise up in his throat again; and had to clap a hand to his mouth in order to silence himself, though his shoulders continued to jump with mirth.
“Uh...hello...” said Spain. His long, lanky body looked bowed in the cloudburst, bent out of shape like a brown willow tree twisted beneath a deluge. It was hard to see through the fat needles of rainwater, but the skin beneath his hazel eyes was purple and grey and green with exhaustion.
Prussia snorted, biting down on his lip. This was too much!
Spain, blinking slowly, lips fattened with sadness, fiddled with the old golden crucifix dangling from a thin chain around his neck for a moment.
France stepped forwards, one hand on his friend’s elbow. “We...chose to read a...poem,” he said, as though it was a great effort to speak these words. “We ‘ope...it brings...some comfort.” He paused. “I feel it...we feel...it sums up our dear – dear friend quite well.”
Spain silently nodded.
Prussia wondered if it was possible to die of laughter.
“Out of the night that covers me,” France began, “Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.” He swallowed, and pressed his lips together.
Spain stepped forth, his eyes affixed on the ground. “In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.” He stopped, and drew in a deep, shuddering breath. “Under the bludgeoning of chance, my head is bloody, b-but unbowed.”
“Beyond this place of wrath and tears,” France continued, a little louder, “Looms but the horror of the shade, and yet the menace of the years finds, and shall find me unafraid.” A tear slid down his cheek; but he turned his chin up; and would not look towards the earth in sadness.
Prussia watched the pair of them in silence. The laughter within him had subsided, somewhat.
“It m-matters not how strait th-the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the...c-captain of my soul...” Spain was openly weeping now. France lifted an arm; laid it across his shoulder.
A couple of other people seemed to have started crying, too. Sudden, quick intakes of breath fattened with rainwater; heads fell forward, and once Prussia saw a pale, unidentified hand move upwards to wipe away a thin tear from an unseen face.
Spain crouched down, knees shaking, and retrieved something from the wet ground. Prussia could not see past the thick black shroud of mourners; but when Spain stood upright again; and turned away, turned to face his damp portrait, he caught a glimpse of flowers; a huge bunch of them, pale purple and pink and yellow and white, and few slipping and sliding between tones. And then in the centre was a different flower; just one. A huge deep blue cornflower, surrounded by soft pastels, fully open, standing strong-stemmed and upright beneath the onslaught of rain drops.
France reached into his pocket, and withdrew a long black and white satin ribbon, then moved closer to Spain. As one, the two of them turned, pressed the bouquet of flowers to the stand where his picture, protected by a thin sheet of glass rested, and together they slowly, carefully tied the flowers with that long ribbon to one side of the wooden stand.
Prussia stood still on the terrace, watching.
Gilbird hopped down onto his hand, twitching his soft little head from his master’s face to the damp lawns sprawled out sadly before them.
France and Spain moved slowly away from the flowers which now shuddered with rain, and the spotted portrait, and melted silently, jadedly into the dark crowd. France stood very stiffly between Spain and what’s-his-face, the guy who looked like a wimpier version of America. Canada, was it? A figure with dark hair and a single wild curl touched Spain, very briefly, on the arm; in response, Spain dropped his head onto the other’s shoulder, and closed his eyes.
Prussia swallowed; linking his fingers together and squeezing his own hands.
It was funny. It was really funny.
He laughed, quickly, quietly, and ran one white finger down Gilbird’s yellow back.
And a little way in front of him, on the miserable grass, France and Spain’s faces grew wet and glazed and empty, and the umbrellas continued to tremble, and dark puddles began to blossom like bruises on top of the thick, saturated grass.
A/N: The poem is not mine; it is called Invictus, and was written by an English poet named William Ernest Henley.
Thank you for all your lovely comments and messages! I do try to reply to them all, so don’t hesitate to send me a review or message if there’s anything you’d like to ask :) Oh, and because there seems to be some confusion, I’d like to add that there will be seven chapters of this in total.