Character(s): Prussia, Germany, Germania, Spain, France
Warnings: alcohol, tears, brotherly fluff, AU, language, human names
Summary: It’s easy having a younger sibling? Lies. At least that’s what Gilbert thinks. But only sometimes.
Previous chapters: 1, 2, 3
Note: As not to cause misunderstandings - there are no hints of Prussia/Hungary whatsoever. Author doesn’t like this pairing. *hides in her corner again*
A/N: Phew. Finally finished this one. Made corrections in the previous chapters too... Enjoy…
“And do you know what Elizaveta said?” Gilbert raised his voice in a poor imitation of a girl’s voice, “’I know you all hate me because I’m smart and beautiful, stupid bitches!’” He made a face for a second and went on talking, caught up in the speech.“Excuse me, do I look like a stupid bitch to you?”
Francis and Antonio burst into a fit of laughter in the midst of the bar.
The narrator shook his head and took a drink of his beer.
A Friday, their day, their time of the week again. Gilbert waited seven bloody days to go out. Even though half of the fun was getting drunk, he had to skip this time. Gerhart gave him the car. But it was still far better than sitting at home.
“The two of you are at loggerheads since forever. When will you stop fightin’?” Francis fought not to slur.
They were almost drunk. Both of them.
“Dunno. Do perfumes expire?”
“What?” Antonio leaned closer along with Francis, thinking he hadn’t heard right.
“Huh?” Gilbert looked at them.
“What?” Francis lamely repeated his question.
“Huh?” He repeated a second time.
Francis waved him off then as it dawned on him that Gilbert was pulling his leg, Antonio still looked confused at the exchange.
“But I still think you need to find someone too, mon ami.” He said, causing his friend to snort in response.
“I’m fine like this. Being alone is the best.” Gilbert put both feet on the bar stool rest and leaned forward, elbows on the table, chin cupped in his hands. “At least I’m not like you. Like a bee, going from one flower to another.” He gave a small bark of a laugh at his own pun, Antonio joined him.
“Oh, ha-ha.” The wine-lover mocked, “Some four years ago or so you had sense of humor, dear Gilbert. What happened in the meantime, I really don’t know…” Said teen didn’t have time to respond as his phone rang and he fished it out of his pocket quickly. Upon seeing it was his father, pale features turned serious suddenly.
“Yeah?” He answered, covering his other ear. The music was distracting him.
“Gilbert? How much did you drink?”
“Why?” He scowled at the question. The other two slipped over, Antonio almost leaned his ear against Gilbert’s, Francis on the other side, surrounding him completely.
“Not much. One beer.” He grabbed the bottle and shook what was left at the bottom. Francis gave a snicker for no reason.
There was a short pause.
“Ludwig’s school trip was canceled. They are waiting to be picked up by their parents. There has been a problem with the bus. I don’t have the car.”
Gilbert gaped for few seconds in anger. Gerhart’s memory must have been overflowed by a Lethean flood.* This was his night. Did he already forget that? He pondered about protesting, but knew it would be preposterous. Ludwig was probably in the middle of nowhere and he had the car. He didn’t have a choice.
Gerhart finished telling him about the location, expecting an answer.
“Right.” He forced out, pursing his lips in annoyance.
“Hurry up. Don’t let him wait. And goodbye to you and everyone who is listening to this conversation.” He hung up. Francis and Antonio returned to their respective chairs, quiet.
“I should be going.” Gilbert said, but he just sat there. Both knew better than to argue. Gilbert could get in an ugly mood when angry.
“Here’s to you, guys.” He said and lifted the beer, “Here’s to the Bad Touch Trio.” Their beer bottles chinked and Gilbert drained the rest of his drink.
He waited until his brother put his backpack on the backseat before starting the car again. Ludwig was taking his damn time, folding his jacket neatly along with his other stuff, and he almost groaned out. He pushed against the gas pedal in impatience, scaring two kids outside.
Ludwig then sat into the seat next to him, fastened his belt, took a deep breath and turned to Gilbert, blue eyes widened in childish excitement.
“We stopped after only thirty minutes, no one told us what was wrong.” By the time he started his story Gilbert has already turned the car and was driving back.
“Then they made us go out and we waited here for a whole hour. The teacher called all parents and told them that the trip is canceled.” Gilbert barely listened to him, looking straight ahead, just gripping the wheel in dissatisfaction the child failed to notice.
Much to his regret, Ludwig continued with his gibberish and he idly wondered when he became so talkative.
“I had the feeling something was wrong with the bus from the very start, I knew something was going to happen—” He wasn’t involved in the whole story, why would that interest him? Rather, he thought about the missed chance of having fun with his friends who were now probably in one of the clubs. The throbbing of his impatience seemed to drown the words he was saying.
“—and then there was some noise. I thought it was a tire and— “
“Ludwig.” The older blond cut him off rudely, “Shut your mouth for at least five fucking minutes, will you?”
Ludwig cringed at his words.
Innocent eyes observed Gilbert but his sibling refused to spare him a glance, scowling darkly, red eyes fixed on the road.
He was wearing contacts again, Ludwig noticed.
Strange how Gilbert’s change of tone could manipulate his emotions so easily. It was the first time he ever heard his brother use such blatant words in his presence, and they coupled with the harsh tone left him tongue-tied.
Gilbert seemed to avoid any kind of conversation like the plague. He turned on the radio and raised the volume. Ludwig had the urge to cover his ears.
He turned away in his seat, staring outside. It was getting dark.
Tears started down his cheeks. He ignored the tingling sensation for a while, but brushed them away after a minute with a sleeve clumsily, the fabric soaked up the salty drops. A shaky breath escaped him and his bottom lip trembled so slightly that the movement was barely perceptible. But it was not like his brother cared.
More tears followed but he kept quiet. Inwardly however, he wanted Gilbert to see him, to notice him, even though he felt ashamed because he was crying.
The occasional sniffs were easily drowned out by the radio, leaving the older one oblivious.
They passed houses, parks, people, but Ludwig couldn’t see anything. All he saw were tears. All he heard were those words.
By the time they reached the house his head was throbbing with pain.
He left the car, not taking his clothes and other belongings, rushed towards the entrance door and upstairs to his bedroom, quick as Mercury. **
Gilbert took the backpack instead and rolled his eyes, assuming his brother was angry for some stupid reason, and followed leisurely. The day was ruined either way, why the rush.
Gerhart waited in the hall, giving his son a strange look as he put the things aside and took his sneakers off. Two plaits adored his long hair and Gilbert immediately knew Remus has been over that day.
“What?” He asked his father gruffly.
“Why is your brother crying?” Calm, he inquired, having concluded that his older son was the cause of Ludwig’s distress.
Gilbert blinked as he experienced a hideous feeling as if he has just been jerked awake after dozing heavily. The car keys almost dropped from his hand.
Ludwig? His little Ludwig? Crying?
The information worked like a slap in the face.
“What’s the matter?” Gerhart asked, “What are you thinking about?”
“I… I think… I might have said something…” Palm covered his mouth and chin as guiltiness washed over him and he realized his mistake. He was an ass towards Ludwig for no reason whatsoever. It wasn’t his fault that his day was ruined.
In a situation where everyone in the world would slap themselves on the forehead, he stood as though glued to the carpet. He made Ludwig cry. Not a stranger, not another child, but he, his own brother. With a shoulder lightly leaned onto the wall, Gerhart spoke, rubbing salt into his wound.
“Gilbert. Did you know that your brother is among the best pupils of his generation?” The younger Beilschmidt suspected something similar, but Gerhart left him confused. The question was strange.
“He comes into your room almost every day to ask for help with his homework, does he not?” He went on patiently, searching for signs of understanding. Gilbert seemed to grasp the meaning after few seconds.
“He doesn’t need my help to begin with…” Something inside clicked, yet made him even more puzzled at the same time.
“Do you know why?”
Gilbert shook his head.
“Because he wants to spend time with you, Gilbert.” A faint smile appeared on the man’s lips, but Gilbert didn’t notice it in his bewilderment. “He doesn’t care about the homework, he only wants to be with you. You know he never had a mother, and I couldn’t be there all the time. Ludwig loves you the most.”
Rarely touched by such words, Gilbert felt like kicked in the chest once he was.
How could he be so stupid and blind? Of course Ludwig doesn’t need help, the child is a genius. He felt like laughing and crying at the same time at his own ignorance.
“And here I thought you’d come up with a suggestion.” Gilbert said as he couldn’t stand the silence anymore. He thrust his hands into his pockets in shame, the keys jangled inside.
“I have nothing to suggest.” Gerhart responded and took his son’s bag from the floor, “I know you are quick to anger, but you seldom hold a grudge. Go and apologize to your brother.”
They parted, Gerhart went to the living-room, Gilbert ascended the stairs.
He headed straight to Ludwig’s bedroom, but stopped right in front of it.
He hesitated for a whole minute before turning the doorknob and found that the door was unlocked. The room was dark, not a single light was on, the blond alone on the bed, back turned to him. Ludwig’s pup appeared out of nowhere beside him and ran inside, jumping on the bed to join its master. While he stood there Blackie found a comfortable place beside Ludwig’s legs.
He followed the pet and took few steps forward, his brother didn’t say anything, didn’t protest. Some kind of an awkward suspense seemed to hover around them, and it was his responsibility to break it.
Blackie let out a whine, craving the child’s attention and moved to lie directly in front of him. Ludwig let him. He stroked the pup that curled up, his other hand pulling at the hem of his own striped sweater absently, almost curled like the dog itself.
At the sound of Ludwig’s sniff, his heart sank.
“Lud?” He began, his voice came out as a whisper. His brother remained entirely still. Gilbert wanted to bang his head against a wall. Was he really expecting Ludwig to offer forgiveness in face of every offense?
“I know you hate me now…” He trailed off.
“I don’t hate you.” Ludwig replied in a small voice.
Gilbert knew it was true, but the words could not deceive his aching heart.
“Am I way off base?” He chuckled nervously, trying to lighten up the mood. “You must be angry at me then.”
Silence fell upon them.
Gilbert decided he was playing his very last card then.
“I’m really− I mean… I really didn’t… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.” He stopped with his clumsy efforts to apologize, feeling utterly stupid.
“I know.” Ludwig whispered and stroked the dog again. “I’m not angry at you.”
Gilbert sighed in something that was either relief or frustration and sat down at the opposite side.
With a determined nod, he joined Ludwig, scooted over and wrapped his hands around the smaller body, holding him close. How did this little brat manage to always make him so affectionate?
“I’d rather die than intentionally cause you pain.” Gilbert said and let his fingers sift through the blond hair. Ludwig nodded in understanding and Gilbert pressed a kiss to his brother’s cheek with a smile.
He lay there, resting his cheek against Ludwig’s shoulder for a long time. His thumb was rubbing across the back of his brother’s smaller hand gently, enveloped in a snug feeling of safety while he held the child in his arms.
“I love you, silly.”
“Me too, brother.” Ludwig whispered back and leaned into the warmth that was his sibling.
It may not be easy, but some words are worth the trouble.
* Lethean flood - in classical mythology, the water of the river Lethe in the underworld caused total forgetfulness
** Mercury - Roman messenger god - in Roman mythology, the god of commerce and rhetoric, who also acted as a messenger between humans and gods. He is noted for his speed.
A/N: I’m so sorry for making you wait ;__; But here it is now. It’s the last chapter. Thank you for reading and for all the lovely comments <3
Buhyoo! Little!Germany is the cutest thing ever