And they don’t remember anything from their human lives, simply their names.
What kind of people would become countries after they die? Do you think God decides by a Bingo game or what?
They die in a war.
Would they be…
I like to think it works the other way round.
That when a nation dies they are reborn as a human in whatever city was their ‘heart’ and can live a human life, having children, marrying the one you love, growing old… All these things that as a Nation they could never experience.
Of course, this would be without any knowledge of their previous life, but some things may seem uncannily familiar even though they know they’ve never been here before, or they may get de ja vu for certain things…
One day, Gilbert Beilschmidt gets a package in the mail. Inside are old articles of clothing dating back a few centuries, a musket, and a well kept ornate knife wrapped in a piece of cloth. A card reads- from your brother, Ludwig.
Gilbert is rather confused, “I don’t have a fucking brother.”
He’s visiting the remains of the Berlin wall, feeling strangely nostalgic when a blonde man of about twenty walks over to him. They get talking, though Gilbert has the constant nagging feeling in the back of his mind that he seems very familiar.
They don’t see each other again, Gilbert doesn’t even get the man’s name, but one day touring in Budapest he gets approached by one of the local women and she asks him if he wants a tour. He decides why not, never one to turn down an invitation by a beautiful woman. They spend the day together and he gets the same feeling, making him think of the young man he met a while ago.
They part ways and again he doesn’t learn her name. She tells him to ‘live well’, whatever that means and hugs him tight with tears in her eyes before she leaves.
Many years pass, but the encounters with the two familiar strangers stays in his memories, surfacing at the strangest of times: getting help with translation from a pair of brothers in rome, chatting to a flamboyant man in a cafe in Paris, thanking a tall man who gives him a spare scarf in Moscow…
All these encounters he remembers, but not the people. He can’t remember the woman’s face, the brothers’ hair colour or the eyes of the young man by the Berlin wall.
As an old man, he visits the wall again and a blonde young man approches him. He can’t help but stare up at him, knowing they’d met before but not quite able to remember.
He’s told to rember that his family loves him, will always love him and remember him.
The following week he has a heart attack and is hospitalised. He passes away peacefully after a long life, surrounded by the people he loves. The last image that floats into his mind is a smiling boy’s face with bright blue eyes.
His family never understood why his very last word was ‘West’…
#what if someone else did this from another perspective #should I do this?
Yes. Yes you should.
Decades after the disappearance of his brother, the blonde German finally found him again. He finally found his bruder visiting the very place in which they were united again after the fall of that wall. But something seemed off. Almost as if this pale haired man was someone else. Germany couldn’t place a finger on it. Prussia - no. Gilbert - was not his brother. At least, not in this lifetime. The blonde felt a tug at his heart as he strolled over to the albino man, his blue eyes showing eagerness to finally get to talk after Prussia’s disappearance.
"Quite daunting, isn’t it?" the German asked as he stood next man. "Oh-..ja-! I can’t believe it held so many people back…," spoke the Prussian. Germany nodded in agreement.
"Ja, but times have changed. No more wall to separate anyone anymore," he spoke in a reminiscent tone. "Everyone is together now, safe and sound…"
As they continued to talk, Ludwig could still see the same shine in Gilbert’s eyes as he spoke on and on, never yielding from his passionate conversation. But the German nation knew he could not stay around for long, even if he truly wanted to stay and catch up. When the pale man turned his head, it cued the country to leave as he disappeared from sight.
Years have passed since Germany last saw his brother. Perhaps it was more than a couple years seeing as how time had not been kind to the now crippled, old Gilbert. It pained the blonde to see how in a couple years could easily change to a couple of decades in his sense, but the German remained as young as ever. The wall, now reduced to a network of various graffiti, still stood in place as he noticed the old man in the wheel chair.
"Decided to come visit again, huh Gilbert?" he spoke gently, standing beside him again. Silence answered him as he glanced over at the frail man. With a sigh, Ludwig precariously placed his hand on the wall. It must be close to the end again, but the nation could not bear it. "Gilbert. I hope you know…everyone loves you. Your family, your friends. They’ve been with you through all the hard times. The least you can do is remember them, alright?" the blue-eyed man said before he turned away.
News arrived a week later about the albino’s health. Germany quickly rushed to the hospital and hurriedly ran to the room his former brother was being held in. He halted in his tracks as he noticed the crowd of people by the old man’s bedside, crying and weeping as they were getting ready to lose their kin. Wires and bags of liquid were hooked into him, and the nation flinched as he stood outside the doorway. Monitors were all around, the pings of the machines pulsing throughout the room. Ludwig his partly behind the concrete wall as he observed inside the room. Gilbert glanced over, an oxygen mask around his wrinkled face. The nation watched with pain as Gilbert flashed him a victorious smile. “West,” the old man said before the line went flat.
It’s a rather recent ritual among nations to start remembering their lost ones. After all, they are only humans with longer life spans, albeit especially unfortunate humans who had to bear the weight of gods. Gilbert’s lucky enough to die peacefully, surrounded by family, unlike Grandpa who fell alone with a javelin through his chest.
Lovino Vargas silently dropped a daisy on Gilbert’s gravestone. Every year he went along with Feliciano to the site, offering twin daisies, one from each brother. Lovino personally couldn’t stand staying in the nation for any other reason other than to offer condolences to the albino idiot, who was at least more entertaining than that other potato-scented, tasteless German.
Speaking of which, “Is Italy not present?”
Lovino huffed, “Isn’t it obvious?”
They said no more and went their separate ways. Lovino had his work and Ludwig had- whatever the hell Germans do. Ever since Feliciano started disappearing, gone for days at a time, Lovino had to take up the lazy idiot’s workload. But, didn’t he have enough sense to not make him travel alone into potato territory? Someone is going to be eating their own torcinelli tonight.
However, hours later, back in Rome, Feliciano still isn’t home. Lovino ate alone. A spark of panic flared in his chest for a moment. It couldn’t have been? But no that’s impossible… Lovino fumbled for his phone and frantically dialed Felicano’s number. He had to call his idiot brother twice before he picked up.
“Ciao! Oh- Roma, is something the matter?”
He almost felt like crying, “Where the hell have you been!? Idiota-”
“I’m just walking around Venezia for a bit,” he chimed in that same stupid voice.
“You missed Gilber-”
“Whaaat!?” Lovino couldn’t believe…
“Just- come home safe, okay?” He hung up before Feliciano could reply.
Of all his years, Lovino never felt so relieved to hear his brother’s voice. Although, he’d rather hear him in person instead of between the static of his phone.
Feliciano eventually came home in some ungodly hour of the night, not drunk or anything, but disoriented. Passing Lovino, Feliciano retired into his own room, completely silent to him who collapsed on the living room couch, waiting for his brother.
The same pattern went on for months. Feliciano would vanish, and when he’s not gone, he would be cooped up in his studio, painting- or at times, simply staring off at something that wasn’t there. He even stopped talking to the diplomats.
“Hey Veneziano! Damiani wants to speak with you!”
“Can you talk to him instead, Roma!?”
It’s a lot more quiet, and for a while, Lovino couldn’t tell whether or not Feliciano is home anymore since it makes no difference.
But then, one day Lovino noticed Feliciano was gone for over a week. No matter how unused his old room is, Lovino knew his brother wouldn’t let a speck of dust touch his studio. That same deluded spark of panic flared, and five unanswered phone calls later, he found his brother’s dead phone on the kitchen counter.
The panic is overwhelming now, heavy and ugly in his chest. He called the potato bastard first who apparently didn’t see Feliciano. Hungary, Austria, Spain, Belgium, Seborga… No one saw him. He took matters into his own hands and left for Venice. Where else would he be?
After hours of fruitless searching, Lovino found him, standing at the water’s edge. Relief, cool and poisonous, washed over him as he ran over to Feliciano and pulled him hastily into a hug.
"Fratellino! Where the hell-"
And then he froze, “Sir, you must be mistaken. I have no brother.”
The same shade of hair, parted in the middle with the same curl bobbing at his shoulder; the same limpid eyes with the same dopey smile tacked onto the same face; the same unwashed collared shirt and trousers that he left home in only a little more than a week ago…
"Hey, Feliciano! Stop playing tricks on me!"
He seemed surprised, “You know my name? Have we met bef- Are you crying?”
Funny. He didn’t even notice.
“Do you want to go out for some gelato? O-or maybe some pasta..?” The man looked around worriedly.
Lovino doesn’t want any gelato or goddam pasta. He just wants his brother back. Why now of all times? It made no sense. Is it because Rome is the heart of Italy? Is that it? Just because Romano had Rome, he stayed? What the hell!? Veneziano is the one with the better economy, the art, and the goddam tourists! If anything, Romano should have been the one to die!
The world has no need for two Italies…
The sheepish man with the face of his brother still tried to offer food, anything to placate him. Suddenly, Lovino broke from the hug and gripped Feliciano tightly on the shoulders. In a moment of insanity, he just wants to push him into the Venetian waters. The edge of the canal is just right there. Drown him so he wouldn’t have to see or hear fate’s cruel joke any longer. But, then Lovino simply left.
“Hey wait! Sir!?” Feliciano ran after him.
In a fury, he turned, “Stay away from me! Don’t speak to me any longer! I never want to see you again, bastardo!”
No, he couldn’t bear to look at his brother’s walking corpse.
((Okay, I wrote this part to continue where aphpastaboy left off with “I don’t have a fucking brother”, so this is a little out of order from the others))
Gilbert then looked out the window. There is a strange, yellow bird perched on a tree branch. He is not surprised, but he is curious. The bird had followed him as long as he could remember. Deep down, he knew it was always the same exact bird, but he could never figure out how he knew. It was a gut feeling as curious to him as the package he received was.
Without any progress in finding memories of a brother or how he knew that a seemingly immortal bird was following him his entire life, he turned toward a vaulted door and opened it. Inside was the collection of his diaries and journals he started writing since he learned how to write. After writing a new entry about the mysterious package and how that weird bird was still following him, he began to reread old journals, diaries, and notes to find any sort of clue to how it seems so familiar and comforting.
Two hours or so later, he comes across an entry he made about a dream he had back when he was only eight years old.
"I had a strange dream last night. It seemed so real and vivid like it was a memory or prophecy or something. I was an adult, and I had a younger brother too. He had blonde hair that was slicked back, blue eyes, and a green military uniform. I had a uniform too, but mine was blue. There were other people too. Everyone was addressing each other by names of countries. They called my younger brother Germany, and I was addressed as Prussia. The little yellow bird that’s been following me in real life was there too. It was sitting on my shoulder while I was petting it and drinking beer.
Then, there seemed to be a time skip, and the scene changed. I was no longer at a bar, but in a field. My body collapsed, and everyone was surrounding me. Germany held me close in his arms and supported my upper body while I was lying on my back. I began to cry in the dream, and everyone else did too. The sky was so pretty, but it didn’t feel right. I looked at my hand, and it was slowly fading. Even the people I could tell didn’t like me very much were crying, but that didn’t stop what was happening. I felt like my actual being was fading away. Just before everything went dark, Germany said, ‘Ich hab dich liebe.’ After the dream faded to black, I was finally able to wake up. I was bawling so hard that my parents came it. I couldn’t explain my dream to them. It’s too sad. I am crying as I right this now. I don’t know why it’s so sad. I don’t know why it seemed so real. I hope I can make sense of this in the future.”
Gilbert looked up from the entry and looked back at the package with watering eyes. “How could I have forgotten that dream?” He sighed and put a sticky note on the page just before he closed the journal and put it away. After closing the vault, he went outside and stood under the tree the strange bird was in.
"Hello," he said to the bird. "Would you like to be friends?" With that, the bird swooped down and rested on his shoulder and began to rub against his face. Gilbert smiled and began to pet it. Though he did not have memories like that dream he had, it was clear to him that at one point in time, he was one of the most awesome people who ever lived. "One day…” he thought. “One day, I’d like to meet this supposed brother of mine.”
Feliciano began to pray in 1870.
He didn’t even know who he was praying to, who was it that heard the cries of a Nation, but every night he asked the same thing.
Take me instead.
As the fight for Italian independence and unification progressed, the child of Venice could only watch as the kingdoms that had been born from his lands after Rome’s fall slowly disappear. One by one his family fell apart even as a fractured Italy began to mend. It was slow. Scardnia went missing for a few days, then Tuscany for a few more then that. Florence was the first to completely disappear, and by then it was to late
In the end, he was all that remained of the North.
Leave them alone. Leave him alone.
San Marino refused to join the unification, and probably saved himself because of it. Vatican stayed safe also, as did Seborga. The three of them avoided the Unification and stayed themselves. But they weren’t who Feliciano prayed for.
Please do not take him.
For centuries it seemed like a miracle of fate, their cultures remained just different enough that they were both safe. they could both live and be Italy, but still every night he prayed. Just in case. but then it changed.
Not him. Please not him.
Lovino began to forget things. Small things that wouldn’t seem to matter, but Feliciano had watched this happen many times once before. Florence, Scardinia, Tuscany, Lombardy, Genoa… one by one he had watched them forget without knowing why. not until it was to late. He began to pray harder.
Anything. Take anything for me. Just don’t take him.
He started skipping meetings, pretending to forget until Lovi got fed up with him and just did it himself. He asked his brother to cover for him while he pretended to meet with Germany or Japan. Sent him to meet with other Nations than just Spain. Whatever he could do to affirm his brothers ties to the land. Whatever it took.
It worked. Lovi stopped forgetting, his ties to the land, to their people and the other nations grew, and his brother gained strength from it without ever knowing just ho close he had come to losing it all. Everything was fine.
Then one day, Feliciano really forgot a meeting, and knew his prayer from 1870 to an unknown power, and the prayer of every night after had been answered.
Take me instead.
The Holy Roman Empire began to fall apart. War and political discourse had finally begun to take its toll on him. The year was 1806. His last emperor, Francis II, had renounced his throne. Holy Rome could not believe the news when he heard it. Francis II had only been emperor since 1804. With no emperor, Holy Rome knew he was going to fade. Even though he was already down, France kept kicking him. However, Holy Rome knew that France himself didn’t want to. France, he knew, was only kicking him under orders from his boss. Only one thing was keeping Holy Rome alive now: his love for Northern Italy.
Though his love and will to live was strong, he still began to slowly forget things. All of his brothers began to worry. They all cared for him even though they were not very good at showing it. To keep themselves and their younger brother alive in those troubling times, they held firm to their culture and began to strengthen their nationalism. This slowed Holy Rome’s memory loss, but that did stop it completely. Finally, one of them suggested a way to possibly save Holy Rome, but it was an idea that no one wanted to hear.
"We are going to have to unify once more. We will need to make a new country out of all of us. It is the only way. If we all die, then so be it. Holy Rome is our youngest brother. We have lived such long lives, but Holy Rome… He has not had the long life we’ve had. I know some of us are weak economically and others are weak militarily, so unifying will help our citizens out as well."
Prussia then looked at everyone. They were all staring at him. Though he had spoken with a steady voice, tears were watering in his eyes. He knew he was the strongest militarily and economically other than Austria, so he knew his brothers would probably think he just said that because they knew he could take them by force and rule them all. However, his true reason for suggesting it was that he really wanted to help his younger brother and all of his brother. As expected, most of them gave Prussia a stern look, especially Austria.
"Oh, you think you can just start suggesting stuff like that, don’t you, Prussia? Well I have a good question for you: who will be the one in charge? I say it can’t be you because you suggested. If you absorbed us, then you’d just get what you want. I know. How about we settle this like we did in the good old days: with war. You need to learn that you are not as awesome as you’d like to think." Austria said.
With that, Austria, Saxony, Bavaria, Württemberg, Hanover, the Hesse twins (the Electorate of Hesse and the Grand Duchy of Hesse), Baden, Reuss Elder Line (Ruess-Greiz), Schaumburg-Lippe, Saxe-Meiningen, Nassau, and Frankfurt all stood on one side of the room. Prussia looked beside him to see who wanted to fight by his side. He saw Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Oldenburg, Anhalt, Brunswick, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, Lippe, Schwarzburg, Waldeck, Saxe-Laudenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck. As Prussia and Austria stared into each other’s eyes, Prussia knew he needed more allies. He didn’t want to fight, but he would if that meant saving his brother to raise him lovingly. Plus, Prussia was a little envious that Austria got to spend more time with Holy Rome in the past than with him. He knew that if there were ever a chance to be the brother he should have been to Holy Rome, this was that chance. With this in mind, he knew exactly who to turn to: Italy.
From what Holy Rome told Prussia, Northern Italy was a sweet and thoughtful person with many talents. Holy Rome didn’t say anything about Southern Italy though, so he didn’t know what to expect from that one. France had apparently told everyone that Holy Rome was dead, so Prussia decided not to tell Italy about Holy Rome’s real state was. He wasn’t sure how they would react.
As Prussia approached the border, he saw two children standing together looking at him. They had strange curls sticking out. One had darker features while the other had lighter features, but even a blind man would be able to tell they were brothers. Prussia dismounted from his horse and walked up to them.
"Are you two the Italy brothers?" He asked.
"Who the hell else would we be?!" Shouted the one with an olive complexion.
The paler brother turned to the darker one.
"That’s not very nice. He is Holy Rome’s big brother. He came to us for help. Should that make you happy that a big, strong country is asking us for help instead of tearing us apart?"
"Okay… I’m sorry…" the darker one grumbled.
"I’m sorry about that. He is just worried we’ll be separated again. We just are about to get back together as you know."
"It’s alright. I know how brothers are. I have fought with my brothers before, and now I’ll have to do it again. This time, though, I will have to strike first" said Prussia.
The paler one had a smile on his face, but his eyes showed solemn sympathy for Prussia and his family. “My name is Feliciano. Most people just address me as Italy or Veneziano. His name is Lovino, but most people call him Romano.”
"My name is Gilbert. It is a pleasure to meet the both of you. I have a deal that can speed along your unification if you help speed along mine." He looked at Feliciano. "I know you had to fight against me in the past, but I don’t want to fight against you. I want to fight with you. I know you two want to be together, and I know my brother is preventing you two from that. My deal is this: if you help me, then Venice will be annexed from Austria. This, I promise."
The brothers’ eyes widened. They stood there staring at Prussia, then at each other, and then back at Prussia. After their initial shock, they gleefully yelled “SI!” and danced around.
"When do we start?!" they asked after they calmed down a bit.
"Well, first your bosses have to agree to it."
"That will be a quick decision" said Feliciano with a grin.
"I don’t think our bosses are stupid enough to reject a deal like this" said Lovino with a mild smirk.
These two certainly are interesting, thought Prussia.
Once the fighting started, most of Prussia’s brother’s didn’t actually do much of the fighting. Prussia expected this, though. Most had a weak military and were broke. While Austria technically had more allies, Prussia was only one with a real ally. The Italy brothers fought well, and Prussia grew fond of them. In two months and 9 days, the war was over. The North German Constitution was written, and in 1871, it was edited and became the Constitution of the German Empire.
Not all of the Holy Roman Empire united as one, though. Austria stayed as its own country, Spain was its own country, and a few others stayed separate. Prussia was fine with that, though. His brothers were too. However, even after this long process, Holy Rome lost almost all of his memories. He had lost them while they were fighting and writing and editing the constitution. By the end of it all, Holy Rome was only able to conduct basic bodily functions such as breathing. He wasn’t even fully conscious anymore, but he always was clutching onto a certain object: his gift from Italy. All of the brothers who were now part of the German Empire were in their churches praying for God to take their lives instead of their brother’s. Though his memories were gone, his body still functioned. They all prayed for the same thing: that if they fade, the one who would remain would be their youngest brother. He was now a clean slate. Instead of a new baby taking his place, he could just be fully alive again and continue living. His will to live was stronger than all of theirs. Of all of the brother, Prussia prayed the hardest.
A few months began to go by, and the other brothers who were now part of the German Empire started losing their memories. All of them, except for Prussia. He seemed to be the only one who was not beginning to fade.
One day, all of the brothers other than Prussia were gathered in Holy Rome’s room. When Prussia walked in, he was surprised to find them there. They were all by Holy Rome’s bed and crying and collapsing with their heads on the edges of Holy Rome’s bed. Pussia began to cry too. He knew why they were crying. He could see what was happening to them. They were starting to fade. As each one faded one by one, Prussia held them in his arms and told them he loved them. It was like an assembly line for death. He promised each one he would find them in their human lives.
"Why am I not fading with you?" He asked the last one just before he faded.
"You are not fading because we did not want you too, and it is not your time. You came to rule over us, so it was our time. Plus, someone needs to raise our younger brother. You are strong and can protect him. Plus, you spent the least time with him. God knows you want a chance to be a real brother. God knows you want to nurture a life rather than fight more wars. It is your time to live as an actual country rather than as a buffer zone for fighting. We hope you life long, brother. Please take care of our youngest. I hope we saved him…"
He faded in Prussia’s arms, just like the rest of them did.
As soon as he faded, Holy Rome woke up.
"uuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh…." He groaned.
Prussia was startled. With tears in his eyes, he rushed off the floor, scooped his brother out of the bed, and hugged him tightly in the air.
"YOU’RE ALIVE! YOU’RE ALIVE!" He wept as twirled around and around with his brother in his arms.
The former Holy Rome was confused by this a great deal.
"Are you my brother?" The former Holy Rome asked after Prussia had calmed down.
"Yes, I am." Prussia responded. "My name is Gilbert Beilschmidt. I am Prussia."
"Hello, Gil. I’m… I’m…" He paused trying to remember who and what he was. "I think I’m Germany… I think my name is… is… Ludwig Beilschmidt."
"Yes you are. Yes it is." Prussia knelt down and hugged his brother tightly.
"This house looks huge. Is it just us living here?"
"Yes," Prussia struggled to say as he choked back his tears. "It’s just us."
Twenty years after his brother’s faded. Prussia began writing letters to his reborn brothers he had methodically tracked down. Each letter had instructions to his house to meet in a week at noon for lunch. He hoped that for at least one day, they could be a family once again even if he were the only one who could remember that time.