Or how Prussia attended his own funeral, and almost became half-decent whilst doing so.
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.
At Sansoucci, the rain continued to pour, and the thunder rumbled, distant and weak against the sodden iron-grey clouds. The air was still – utterly still – and it was warm, and yet cold, somehow, and the rain soaked the wooden terrace, and clogged Prussia’s jeans.
The umbrellas and the thick wall of dark coats shivered, and shiny black feet shifted, sinking a little deeper into the soft, squelching earth. The air was heavy, and scented, pungent on Prussia’s tongue. A white slip of skin caught his eye; and something inside his chest jumped frighteningly as he recognised, somehow, at a thick distance, the delicate hand of Austria, sliding upwards to tuck stray, damp hairs behind the pink shell of his ear...and as that beautiful, poncy, stupid head cocked and turned with this motion, Prussia caught a glimpse of rain-lashed spectacles, and shining pale lips.
He had been a child, really, when he first met Austria. A demonic child with far more energy than he knew what to do with; a child who was raised in the company of adult men, a child who had held a sword before he shook a rattle, and screamed battle cries rather than laughter, a child who could recall passages from the Bible with far more ease than he could simple rhyming songs – but a child, nonetheless. Later, much later, he forgot how and why and where he actually met the odd, violet eyed boy, who regarded him coolly with his pointy little chin up in the air; but nevertheless he remembered the meeting as clearly as he could look down and examine the pores on the back of his own hand.
“I’m Teuton,” he remembered saying, loudly, to cover up for any nerves he may have felt. (He hadn’t, of course, because he was awesome.)
The other boy, smaller and slighter than he was, but with an unusual composure about him – he did not bob on the balls of his feet as the knights who milled around Prussia did; nor did his eyes flicker; and his hand did not hover above his hip; he didn’t even carry a sword! – nodded, slowly, casting a cautious gaze from his face to his feet, then said, “Osterrîchi,” and nodded again, stiffly.
They had regarded one another, awkwardly, for a moment, then, to ease the tension that was building, Prussia had offered to show Austria his pet frog. Austria had turned pale, and Prussia had cackled, and teased him, and threatened to put the slimy creature down his shirt whilst he slept.
They had spent about a week together – Prussia could remember that – and at the end, when the horses were assembled outside’s Austria’s house once more, and his men were calling for him to hurry along, he’d turned to the smaller boy, and grinned, and said, “Goodbye, big baby.”
“Farewell, ugly fool,” said Austria, without missing a beat, and in that brief, life-changing moment when Prussia felt his stomach do something very strange he didn’t think it had ever done before, Austria took a step closer, twisting his disgustingly clean fingers together, and murmured, “I, um...hope you come back soon.”
Prussia hadn’t quite known what to say to that – and really, his insides were in turmoil, and he couldn’t have that when he was about to get on a horse and gallop heroically over the horizon...so he did the only thing he could conceivably do in such a situation, and pushed his new friend into the nearest puddle of mud, turned on his heel, and ran.
He was still a child, or thereabouts, on that chilly winter evening when he slid into his grandfather’s house, and found him lying on his back, in that sparse straw bed, coughing up his lungs, and doing nothing whatsoever to resist the incoming spectre. He didn’t know what to do in such a situation, and so he simply pulled his little brother to his side, and sat, quietly, and waited.
Holy Rome fidgeted, just slightly too young to understand the grey colour on the old man’s flat cheeks; the flecks of wet red upon his blue lips. He squirmed and struggled in Prussia’s arms, and flailed his fat little hands towards his grandfather, whining some nonsense about wanting to be closer to him.
Prussia hissed, and said: “Römisches!” because he wanted to help, and he wanted it to be quiet, and calm, and lovely for the poor thing his family had been reduced to, loose and trembling upon the bed –
But Germania coughed again, even louder, and tried to raise himself on one elbow, and allowed Holy Rome to crawl up there beside him. And then he scowled at Prussia, as though he’d done something wrong, and murmured, “Don’t do that, Teuton...”
So Prussia said nothing, but he tilted his chin up, and set it fast there, and balled his hands into small white fists.
Holy Rome had made a quiet, contented sound, and nestled down beside Germania, wrapping the old man’s long, wheat-coloured hair around his stubby little fingers. A few strands of it drifted away onto the mattress.
Germania’s eyes closed then, for a little while – and Holy Rome’s did too, heavily, like a baby’s, and his breathing evened out – and when, at last, Germania’s tired eyes opened once more, and flickered over to his older grandson, perched upon his small wooden stool, Prussia, too, was almost gone.
Waxy in the sad candlelight, Germania had opened his mouth to say something – and then his eyelids had fallen one final time – and Prussia was left with that skinny corpse wrapped around his brother, and his beloved guardian’s last words ringing in his ears and stinging his red-rimmed eyes.
The night before Austria married Spain, Prussia went to see him. Prussia had been strong, then; growing, bulking, his muscles attained from constant conquest and warfare and prayer caught up almost entirely with his bones. Austria didn’t fight; he was slight, and lanky, not quite grown into his adult body, and yet he still managed to look absolutely stunning.
Prussia wanted to kill something.
“What are you doing here?” Austria had said, his voice catching on some barb deep within his throat, and Prussia had snarled, and shrugged, and paced, and Austria had asked him again.
When he had finally been able to answer, what he had wanted to say was snatched from his tongue, and in its place the changeling was cruel and venomous.
“I came to wish you and Spain all the best. I hear he’s a great fuck and I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time with him.”
Austria had blushed, right to the roots of his hair, and Prussia had derived some kind of twisted satisfaction from the sudden, accidentally acquired knowledge that the other man was still a virgin. He could have knocked him back, there and then, against the wall, and taken what he desired, the way some of his men would occasionally do with those dark infidel women after a particularly long dry spell – but he didn’t. He cared too much, and too little, and he didn’t really know what he wanted; so he had spun around on the spot, and made to march from the room, his sword clanking loudly at his side in the cavernous hallway.
He’d stopped at once, and was disgusted by himself.
There was a tremor there, barely concealed in that voice that was usually so calm and composed and smooth, and it set his heart fluttering.
“I – I –”
“Stuff and nonsense,” he’d said before the other could finish, and he’d continued on his way, wincing when Austria’s loud, frightened sob had echoed down the passageway behind him. He had not turned back.
“I’m trying, brother!”
“Not hard enough!” Prussia had cackled, and lunged forwards, sword flashing, and dashed his little brother from his feet for what must have been the fifteenth time that day; that hot summer day that plastered his clothes to his back and chest and armpits, and squeezed the smaller boy’s round face until it gleamed scarlet beneath the high, bright sun.
Holy Rome scowled furiously as he picked himself up off the ground, raising one pudgy hand to push his blond hair away from his eyes. His bottom lip stuck out just a little further than his upper.
“Oooh,” said Prussia, teasingly, and he’d swung his broadsword from side to side a few times, impressively, “I hope that’s not a pout, little Römisches!”
Holy Rome’s scowl intensified. “I’m not pouting!” he snapped, and his lip stuck out even further.
Prussia laughed again. “Oh, yes you are.”
It was hot; all down his spine; down his neck. He rubbed a roughly-gloved hand across his forehead, breathed out hard, and spat onto the grass.
“Don’t be such a baby.”
His brother’s lips tightened, and his chin trembled. “Stop it!”
“Give it up, Römisches. Come – try again.”
“It’s too hot.” Holy Rome let his sword fall. He pulled his own tiny gloves off, and rubbed his sticky eyelids. “I’m tired. I want to go home.”
“Can’t say that in the middle of a battle.” Prussia swished his sword again, grimacing with tortured pleasure at the sweat that continued to bead at his hairline, and creep over his temples. “Can’t give up then. Never –”
“I’m tired, Prussia!” That voice was dangerously close to a whine.
It irritated Prussia; and so he furrowed his brow, tipped back his head to the open sky, and closed his eyes against the burning whiteness.
Holy Rome had stamped his little foot. Prussia heard it, soft and laughable against the thick grass. His eyes had still been closed, and his head still tilted back when he felt that small, hot fist slam into his left kneecap.
“Hey!” His hand flew downwards. “Stop that, you br–”
“I hate you, Prussia!” Holy Rome had said, stamping his small, booted foot once again. “Why do you have to be so mean?”
“Because I’m your brother,” Prussia said, and he did not smile any more. It wasn’t fair –
“I wish you weren’t.”
Prussia had gazed into the sky, tracing the trembling path of a bird in flight beyond the green treetops, and beyond the clouds, until it faded, and he could see no more; and then he’d turned, wordlessly, and set off home. He looked behind, once, to see if his brother was following; but he had already gone. Prussia was all alone.
“The servant girl?”
He wasn’t sure why he’d called her that – she used to be his good friend, after all – until she started wearing dresses, and listening to that stupid, stupid piano.
“It’s for the best.” Austria spoke the words as though they were rehearsed. Knowing him, they probably were.
He’d snorted, and told Austria that Maria would be better off marrying Frederick.
“Why,” said Austria, and it wasn’t a question. “Why, do you wish to be married?”
He didn’t. He did.
He’d considered drawing his sword.
“There’s nothing that can be done about it,” said Austria, and he’d turned away, and looked out of the wide window, over the darkening lawns. He stood very still; his back and shoulders were tight; and his hands, in their soft white gloves were curled into fists. Prussia watched him; watched every twitch in his coat; every jerk of his chest. He hated him – hated his prissiness, his haughtiness, the way he sniffed and turned his nose up every time their gazes crossed, his piano, his violin, the way he buckled his shoes (or had some unfortunate valet do it for him.) He hated him so much he wanted to kiss him.
Then Austria spoke again; and Prussia’s eyes affixed on the melting orange sunset beyond the still, cream-coloured curtains; fixed, and stayed there, stayed until everything blurred. “I suggest...I suggest you l-leave. You know how they –” And he’d broken off. And Prussia had remained silent.
The curtains still glowed, and did not care.
Austria turned slowly towards him. His face was grave, and his eyes were full of pain, and his lips were set in a hard, sad line; but Prussia refused to take notice.
“Very well,” he’d said, and bowed, stiffly, trying not to scream and rail against the injustice of – of everything. “Good evening, young master.”
He turned; laid a hand upon the golden door knob, and the other man had inhaled sharply behind him; closer than he had been before.
“Prussia, I – I lo–”
He’d left, slamming the door behind him, staircases and doors and corridors smearing like spoilt paintings across his eyes, and when he was outside, stumbling over the creaking gravel, his breaths catching and twisting in his chest and throat, he’d heard a howl of hatred from high above, and he’d looked up, and seen Austria leaning over one of his many handsome white balconies.
“I hate you, Prussia!” he’d screamed. “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”
He had shouted nothing back.
France looked pale and tired, and his hair was tangled, and his eyes were bathed in purple shade. He put an elegant, long-fingered hand to his creased brow, and rubbed until it turned to soft red.
“You didn’t tell me,” said Prussia, and his jaw hurt. “You didn’t tell me.”
“Prussia, I –”
“My brother,” he said, and he could still hear, years and years later, the scrape and bang of his own vocal chords. “My baby brother, and you didn’t tell me?”
“I thought he was dead!” he snarled, and his hands had shook – gaped through air for a weapon to brandish. “I thought he was dead! My brother –”
“My friend, I never –”
“You took him!” he had cried, and, years later, on that wet terrace, Prussia still shook when he remembered. “You took him and hid him, and you never said a word! All those times – I – you took him!”
France had gazed back, sad and weary, and dirty, for some reason; sticky with sweat and casual grime, and tears, probably, and his hands had touched his forehead once more – and then his shoulders had lost hope, and fallen down – and he murmured, “You will take him back, of course.”
Prussia had spat and cursed and screamed that of course he would, of course he would take him, he was his brother, his big brother, he would protect him, he would always be there, always –
And when he had come out, from behind one of France’s elegant gold doors, dressed all in white, even-footed and clean, and not a day older than he had been that grey-skied afternoon on the blood-swept battlefield, he had almost sobbed with relief. And when the boy had clung to France, and shook his head, and whimpered about not wanting to leave, and eyed Prussia suspiciously through tears and a neatly-combed fringe, and France had held him back, and stroked his shoulders, and kissed his crown, he had sobbed, for quite a different reason.
He remembered standing back, by a wide, wide window, beside his brother.
“You’re wrong, Germany.” He paused, letting that sentence hang there, testing the waters. Germany said nothing; remained still and stiff-backed. “You’re wrong about him.”
Germany didn’t even bother to acknowledge his words. His still neck and his clasped hands and his unflickering blue eyes, though, spoke volumes.
You’re wrong, Prussia.
What do you know of it, anyhow?
You are wrong.
“Don’t trust him,” he’d murmured.
And Germany had turned to look at him; cast his gaze impassively up and down his body, thinner, weaker, now, than his own – and said, slowly, “Thank you for your advice.” And then he’d turned back to the window, to the cheering and singing and quaking banners outside.
“You don’t care,” Prussia said, and Germany rolled his eyes.
Austria watched him mutely from his wheelchair, knuckles and cheeks pale, eyes hooded.
“I’m sorry. My brother is –”
“Not in his right mind,” said Austria. “I know.” He looked to the piano; to the bookshelves; to the curtains, drawn against the red light of sunset. “At least it’s over now.”
They did not speak, for a long while; and then Prussia said, “I have to go and live with Russia.”
“It’s my – punishment.”
It took a long time for Austria to answer. When he did, his voice was hoarse and tired. “When?”
He didn’t know why he kept apologising. Maybe for everything he’d ever done. Perhaps he should go on a pilgrimage, again. He hadn’t done that in a long time. But then, one did not walk to Jerusalem in one cool, smoky night.
“Prussia,” said Austria, at last, but Prussia hardly heard him. He could not stay. He had to go, before he did something stupid. He would die if he did not go with Russia; and that pathetic slip of his land, his culture, his people, his song and his spirit, wrecked and ruined as it was, would be carved out of the flesh of his brother.
“I have to go now –”
“I have to – get off, you stupid aristocrat!”
It was a weak insult; but Austria dropped his arm, and looked away.
“Get out, then,” he said, and as Prussia closed the door to the old, sad manor house behind him, he heard a cry of, “You never listen!”
This was becoming far too familiar.
And back, now, above the streaked lawns of Sanssouci, Prussia sat down on the waterlogged steps, and examined his wet feet. He felt chilly, all of a sudden, which wasn’t awesome – and kind of sad, which was doubly so – and really, really lame for actually feeling this way.
He told Gilbird this; but Gilbird had nothing to say on the matter.
On the grass, the umbrellas shifted.
Italy Veneziano appeared at the side of his rain-spotted portrait; hands clasped before him, looking very sombre. Around his neck, Prussia spied a small, gold crucifix on a thin chain, similar to Spain’s.
“Goodbye, Pru– Gilbert,” Italy said, softly, and licked his lips a little. “I’ll miss you very, very much. You were really awesome. It makes me – very sad to think we won’t be able to hang out ever again. I miss you, a lot.” He stood there a moment; then moved away.
And Prussia looked down at his shoes again.
Thanks so much for the lovely reviews! They mean so much to me, I love to know what you think of my writing :D I’ll try to finish reworking the next chapter over the next couple of days and upload it.