"Da? You called, Empress?"
"How dare you address me so informally, Россия," the Empress Catherine the Great turns her nose up haughtily at the standing Russia. He only smiled in that odd way only he did, "the Polish are revolting again. And even after we've shown them such grace."
Grace would be the wrong word, thinks Russia. After all, we've neglected to let them have the same liberties from even the Jagiellon Dynasty. Of course, this is of no concern, since that country is just fodder. As well as a nuisance.
"The Commonwealth was once something to be feared. We've kept the Polish-Lithuanians leashed, but no more. Send for General Alexander Suvorov. Tell him to scatter those rebels."
"At once, императрица."
Russia steps out from the throne silently, treading through the long hallway. How he boiled at memories of the Polish-Muscovite War, the sight of the fearsome Winged Hussars bearing down on the land. They, the Russians, were lucky to get out with their independence intact, especially during their Smutnaya Vremya. He smiles at a passing maid, who flinches and hurries away. Yes, they will tear that little commonwealth to pieces and make sure it never comes back.
Francis II and Austria sit idly about with papers and a tea tray set out. Hungary stands behind her husband, eyes closed and re-imagining Austria's fingers flying across the keys. The piano recital had just finished and the three are enjoying quiet time when a messenger knocks.
"Entschuldigung Sie die Störung! A message from the Russian Empire!"
The messenger brings with him the Russian emissary. He bows deeply before smiling in that way like Russia, only less scary.
"The Empress would like you to attend her deliberation convention on the third Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth."
Francis pauses and strokes his chin. Austria ignores the announcement and continued sipping his tea, letting the decision fall to his king. Hungary waits for Austria to say something.
"Is she so hasty to get rid of Stanisław? Well, if Tadeusz Kosciuszko is causing even Catherine such grief, if we help, we will reap riches as well."
"This will be the final partition. Austria-Hungary," The emissary nods to Hungary in acknowledgment, "...will be well compensated in their share of the gained territories."
After the emissary has left, Austria sighs.
"What's wrong, Austria?" Hungary places a hand on his shoulder, on which he puts his hand.
"I know you've got barely the stomach for this. But sometimes, things aren't so free flowing as your piano music," Francis looks at the piano knowingly, "I won't be like Maria Theresa and lose an opportunity."
"I'm simply feeling sorry for the poor fool. He's been in decline for a while now, and we're only kicking the dead horse."
"They were once a fearsome force. Even when faced with the First and Second Partitions, they used democracy as a weapon against foreigners. Don't you think we'll sleep better with them off the map?"
The two countries perk up, "What do you mean … off the map?"
"It will not be enough to simply take it over, nein. This is the Final Partition because this is the last you'll see of Poland or Lithuania," The despot walks over to a map of Europe on the wall and smirks, "They'll have to start making new maps without that eyesore."
"Frederick William II."
"Kaiser Sabel!" Prussia's wooden sword smacks loudly against the king's. The despot ignores his messenger as he spars.
"Sir, bitte!" The messenger announces a little louder, "The Russians and Austrians wish to meet with you."
The despot pauses but Prussia charges in, ignorant. Frederick gives him a good smack for good measure, before sending him sprawling out of the field.
"That'll be all for today! Now, what was this about those two?"
Prussia picks himself up and shoots his boss a searing look. The despot is too preoccupied to notice. The country stalks off. Diplomatic talks and foreign policy was boring, unless it was pure conquest. Yes, conquest. Like when he took Silesia from those losers Hungary and Austria. He chuckles to himself, remembering how awesome he was on the battlefield.
A little Germany runs up to Prussia and hugs his legs. The little thing wasn't quite a country yet and of course was learning everything from Prussia's tutelage. Prussia pats the little head and hears Frederick coming up behind him with the messenger. At Frederick's beckon, a servant carrying kegs of beer arrives and distributes the beverage.
"Why are we celebrating? I know my awesomeness deserves recognition-"
"How happy you would be if you could get a little bigger, Prussia! Well that's just what's going to happen!"
"Sirs, is Germany allowed to drink?" The servant looks uncertainly as he hands the little chibi a beer.
Poland and Lithuania lay about on a grassy field, as they did when they first became the commonwealth. The silence shows both knew what may be about to happen.
"I hear the Russians are bringing in their national hero, Suvorov."
"Do you think Tadeusz could win? He fought in the American Revolution and-"
"Liet. I think we shouldn't be talking about that stuff," Poland says with uncharacteristic melancholy, "Let's just enjoy the blue sky and good weather."
"Wha-What do you mean? It's like this a lot. Why-" Lithuania stops.
"It will be a long time before we see each other again. Tadeusz is great, but Suvorov … I still will hope, but I feel like God has already forsaken our commonwealth," Poland says impassively, "Once they beat us, they will probably break us. We used to rule so much of Europe, remember, Liet? And now, we're like lambs up for a slaughter."
"..." The two lie in uncomfortable silence, waiting for hell to rain down any second.
"Russia's probably still mad when we took Moscow, heh," Poland chuckles lightly, "Hey, Lithuania, you want to hear a story?"
"Back when countries didn't exist, three brothers made their fortunes. One went off to the barren mountains. Another left for fertile fields. The third was Lech, and he founded his country where a white eagle settled atop a big tree. That's me."
"Barren mountains … Russia," Lithuania whistles, "And fertile fields is Ukraine."
"You got it!" Poland laughs once, "Russia got the shortest end of that stick. Maybe that's why he's so … what's the word, grabby?"
Lithuania is silent for a spell. When he was just coming to countryhood, he'd run into a Russia ruled by the Tatars. Back then, Russia was such a puny weakling, like he was. He had ambition, though, and they were coming true.
"I have to become bigger … a stronger country … before I can be your, or anyone's friend."
"... Mr. Russia's got a weird idea of friendship."
"Hm?" Poland arcs over backwards, "Lithuania, you scared? You're shaking."
"We're going to disappear! We won't be countries anymore! How..." Lithuania flips over and throws Poland a teary look, "How are you not scared?! Aren't you afraid of disappearing?!"
Poland looks at Lithuania's face, his own unchanging. He raises a hand and pinches Lithuania's nose, much to the country's ire.
"We're countries man. Maybe someday we'll disappear forever," Poland smiles, "But not now."
"As countries, we serve our bosses. When we lose land, it's like parts of us disappear. But we're not our bosses, or simple pieces of land," Poland closes his eyes, "We may leave the map, we may disappear. But we'll live on. In the hearts of the citizens who keep the commonwealth in their hearts. Then, maybe not too long in the future, we'll be reborn. Like a phoenix."
Lithuania looks at Poland, bewildered. His tears were already running down his cheeks and his face was rather red. Poland had given up. He was calm. The battle was already coming to a conclusion, he could feel it in his bowels. Suvorov had won. Prussia, Austria and Russia were carving the country like a turkey. Then the thought hit Lithuania.
I don't want to see you disappear!
"Huh? Hey," Poland calls out after the fleeing Lithuania, "Liet?"
He doesn't look back. He doesn't stop running. Once he's sure he's far away from Poland in the nearby forest, he sits down heavily on a tree. His hands and feet are already dissolving. Despairing, he wraps his arms around himself and sobs until there is no more of him.
Poland hasn't moved from his spot on the grass, his eyes fixed on the forest where Lithuania fled. Then he notices his fading body. A sad smile was the last he could manage before tears began to fall.
It may well take a century, But we'll definitely meet again.