“Vee…” Feliciano’s sigh was audiable, yet nobody really paid attention to him. Except for (Name).
“What’s wrong, Feli?” She asked softly. It was a world meeting, and as always, all hell was breaking loose. Finland was pouting while Denmark and Sweden were making out while Iceland and Norway were cuddly, France and England were fighting, America was…well, (Name) didn’t want to even think about it because it made her blood boil.
“Germany has been acting so strange lately, bella.” The little Italian told her. “He seems sad, but he won’t talk to anyone about it. Not even to Gilbert or Herr Schtick.”
Feliciano seemed down as well, even his curl was drooping. Everyone knew that Germany was his ‘best-est friend in the world’, as he put it, and that Germany’s attitude made him sad too.
True, Ludwig seemed out of character. He didn’t even seem irritated, just…frightened, for some reason.
(Name) sighed. Hopefully, she could do something…
The door unlocked with the usual click.
(Name) walked into her house, flinging her keys onto the kitchen counter while walking past the room, and threw her bag onto her couch. Nothing interesting happened at the meeting anymore, since Germany wasn’t there to silence the nations.
(Name)’s house was old, built in the late eighteenth century. Yet, it still stood sturdy, with a few minor imperfections here and there.
But she welcomed them today, the little creaks of the wooden stairs, the moaning of the door as she pushed it open with the silver doorknob, and of course, the pitter-patter of the rain against her window.
With a reliefed sigh, she plopped down on her bed, kicking her shoes off. The only thing on her mind right now was sleep. Screw her boss for today, she was a freaking nation, and even she needed some rest.
Her sheets were a lovely shade of (f/c), matching the color of her walls. They had never seemed so fluffy before.
After tucking herself in properly, she let herself drift off for a few minutes, until an annoying ringtone interrupted her.
Slamming her hand onto her cellphone, she growled and picked up.
“Is it you, (Name)?”
It was Prussia.
“Yes, who else did you expect?” She snapped. (Name) hated being woken up prematurely. “So, what’s up?”
“West went missing!” The (ex)-nation exclaimed. “You have to come help us look for him!”
(Name) instantly got out of her bed and cursed. “Shit…”
“Ja! Scheiße!” Gilbert yelled into the phone. “Now hurry up und get bent!”
(Name) hurried up and gathered her things. Where on earth could Ludwig be? As far as she knew, he always was at home, training or scolding Italy or the like. But where did he go when things got too much to handle?
That’s the thing, he never seemed like anything could go out of hand. He always seemed so controlled, and (Name) really looked up to him. Ludwig was always organised, punctual, and pretty much one of the most disciplined nations in existance. How could he snap from one day to the other?
“LUDWIG!!” (Name) yelled into the forest. Gilbert suggested looking for his younger brother there, since Ludwig had been drawn to nature even as a little kid.
“LUDWIG! Where are you?!”
She was slowly getting more and more anxious. Italy had been devastated, and now it was slowly getting dark. It was the perfect setting for a horror movie, (Name) decided, trying to calm her nerves. Even in the dark, Ludwig would be fine. He was physically fit and knew how to survive without any technical help. You coulp dump him in the wild with just a knife (and (Name) knew he always had one on him) and he’d be okay.
(Name) sighed as she entered a clearing. This was hopeless. The forest was too big to search just with Gilbert and her (Italy had stayed at home incase Ludwig came back), they’d never find him at this rate.
“No way…”, she suddenly gasped as she saw a small enterance covered by leaves and other debris. A bunker in the middle of nowhere? Add that to the horror movie setting.
Preparing for the worst, (Name) heaved the door open and climbed the rusty ladder down carefully.
The bunker was dim, musty and looked like the perfect place to hide dead bodies. The walls were crumbling, and the floor was muddy and wet. (Name) wrinkled her nose in disgust, and fished a little flashlight out of her bag to light her way.
The more she proceeded through the bunker, the sound of sobbing she heared faintly became louder. And it wasn’t a feminine sob, it sounded very much masculine.
After a long, dark hallway covered in cobwebs and moss, (Name) came to face a heavy metal door. Rust ornated the entire frame, and it looked like the handle was going to fall off any moment now. It was left slightly open, letting a tiny stream of light into the corridor.
(Name) glanced through the crack, and saw a head of blonde, combed-back hair.
“Ludwig…?” she questioned softly, opening the door carefully so she wouldn’t startle the disshelved nation. His shoulders were quaking, and he flinched when he heared her voice ghosting into the room.
“(N-Name)…please…how did you find me?” Ludwig asked without facing her. His voice was shaking, and he had to gulp several times in order to form a proper sentence. (Name) had never seen him like this. Eventhough he tried to hide his face from her, she could tell he’d been crying.
“Gilbert called.” She explained. “He said you were nowhere to be found and needed help in finding you.”
Ludwig gave her a short, cold laugh. “Gilbert cared enough to call?”
“Of course he does, he’s your brother, Ludwig!” (Name) insisted, shocked that Ludwig would doubt his brother’s love and care for him.
“What about Italy?”
“Italy was bawling his eyes out when I arrived at your house. Really, he was so worried.” (Name) said. “May I sit down?”
“Ja, ja, go ahead.”
(Name) pulled up a short, rusty iron stool up to the table Ludwig was sitting at. She was a bit afraid that it might fall apart any moment now, but relaxed once she found that it was indeed stable enough.
“Does anyone else care?” Ludwig spoke after a moment of silence. (Name) nodded.
“I care. I immediately jumped up when Gilbert called me. I think the police is gonna write me up for breaking the speed limit.” She told him.
Germany nodded at this and leaned back in his chair. (Name) took in the appearance of the small room. It wasn’t very different from the corridor, but it had concrete flooring, and blood was splattered across the walls.
“What…what is this place?” She asked cautiously.
“A bunker that was attacked during World War Two. I found it here, but haven’t been able to clean it yet.” Ludwig told her. (Name) felt there was a different reason for the blood still being there, since Ludwig usually was so hell-bent on cleaning, but decided to let it slide.
“Is this why you disappeared?” She whispered. Ludwig had once admitted to her that sometimes his memories of the 1940’ies haunted him. Sometimes, it would become to much, but it had never been this bad. He had never run away because of his memories.
“I feel so guilty, (Name).” Germany spoke. “I feel guilty, disgusting, repulsive and worthless because of what happened. I have left a permanent scar on myself and on the world’s history, and I cannot change anything. My people sometimes still have to fight against an image we created so long ago because what I did is unforgiveable.”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” (Name) disagreed. “You yourself did not make those decisions. It was your country’s leader, and as nations, we have no choice but to obey them. We have no say in what they decide to do, unless they want us to, and we both know He wasn’t too keen on interference.” It was an unspoken rule between the two to never mention the name of the man who had caused millions of people death and agony. Just hearing that dreaded name gave Germany the urge to vomit.
“But I feel like I should have done something, anything to stop Him.” The blonde replied.
“Your people supported Him. Not only your people, but most of Austria’s people as well. And, let’s face it, He was Austrian.” (Name) put her hand on his arm in a comforting manner. “We both know that us nations are fueled by our people. All Hell would break lose if we would turn against our leaders and people. That’s what ties us to our lives.”
(Name) knew it wasn’t just that Ludwig was feeling guilty. He was quite desperately looking for away to atone for his past, and (Name) saw that he was working so hard on it.
“How can I ever wash the blood of the millions who died, no matter what nation, from my hands?” Ludwig asked, and she knew that the question wasn’t directed to her in person. “That is why the blood is still there, (Name). I will only clean the blood from these very walls when I have washed the blood and shame from my people and our past. So many of my people have grown up, learning it was bad for them to be proud of their nation, and with good reason.”
“Ludwig, your people and you have been doing so much. Nothing may change the past, but you have been working for a brighter future.”
Now, the Germanic nation glanced at her in confusion. (Name) just put her arms around the broken man and buiried her face in her upper arm.
“Think about it. You’re one of the cucial members of the EU and the UN. You keep the World Meetings together so we all can benefit from them. You help countries who have fallen into a critical financial status. I think you’ve done a lot to wipe most of the blood off your hands. And the future is what counts. Your people have learned from the past, so I’m pretty sure the future is bright for both you and your people.”
“What if…someone like Him arises to power again, (Name)? What shall I do then?” Ludwig was close to tears again, though he wasn’t exactly sure what emotion caused it. What (Name) had just told him touched him deeply, but fear struck him when he thought of what could happen in future times.
“Then other nations will be there to stop him should he chose to bring chaos upon the world. But, Ludwig, know that nothing that happened in the past is your personal fault. We are never allowed to go against our leaders. Do you think Russia agrees with everything his bosses did? Of course he doesn’t.” She nuzzled her face further into his shirt. “At the end of the day, all of us, as nations, not counting our leaders or people, us nations are working towards a world where everyone can live in peace. But our vision is disrupted by selfish leaders, corrupt leaders or by power-hungry leaders. So nothing that happened in history is to blame on us personally, it is to blame on the leaders of the nations. We have no choice but to follow orders.”
“Do you really think so, (Name)?” Ludwig asked.
She nodded against him.
“Yes, I do. So do most of the nations, actually.”
“So I can still…atone for my past?”
“We all are working for a the world to be a better place someday, and you’re working quite well on it, just like all of us are doing. So I wouldn’t worry about the past to much.” (Name) said.
“The past is in the past. The future,” she pecked his lips gently. “is what counts.”
“GERMANY!!!” Feliciano latched himself onto Ludwig when he walked into the house with (Name) by his side. “We were all so worried! Where were you?”
“Yeah, man, where were you?” Alfred spoke up. Gilbert had assembled his five closest friends (America, Denmark, France, Spain and (Name)) to look for his brother.
“I…I needed time to think.” Germany replied. He was quickly wrapped up in a conversation with the little Italian and super-strong American.
“What did you do to him, (Name)?” Denmark asked jokingly.
“Si, he seems much more relaxed.”
“Oh, did you have some quality time together? Honhonhon…”
“(Name)! Did you screw around with my little bruder?”
(Name) laughed and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear.
“No. I just told him what I told each of you when you had one of your slumps.” The second-oldest of the present nations (after Denmark) said.
“The past is in the past. It is the future that counts now."