Chapter 1: Auferstehung / Resurrection

They ask Nasreddin Hodja:

"Until when are people going to be born, live and die?"

"Until Heaven and Hell become full," he answers.


Dear Gilbert,

You have been cordially invited to the Dead Nations Society! More will be explained should you decide to turn up. We have meetings at the local library every Sunday, from around 3 pm to 5 pm. This is not a hoax :)

Be there or be square!

- Helena

Gilbert's eyes flitted over the letter for what seemed like the hundredth time in a row. It was handwritten and scrawled on an old, yellowed piece of paper. Several coffee stains marred the edges, smudging some of the words.

"Who the fuck," He wondered aloud. "Ever says 'Be there or be square'?"

His words seeped into the walls of his shitty old apartment. When he said shitty, he meant popcorn ceilings and garish wallpaper and leaky pipes and crazy rent. And also the fact that he shared it with two slobs who couldn't be assed to pick up their old trash and clothes.

They barely bothered to talk to him. He'd come back wasted and exchange a nod or two with John, or have a shouting match with Caleb over the old, rotting takeout container that was somehow still on the table. Their conversations were curt and snappy, born of three idiots who had no choice but to room together while barely knowing each other.

He threw the letter on the coffee table and flopped back on the couch. Jesus. Their ceiling was terrible. He had half a mind to scrape off all those unawesome ridges with a kitchen knife right that instant, but abandoned that thought in favour of smooshing a cushion onto his face.

He used to be in the home renovation business at one point. There were an awful lot of popcorn ceilings and walls he'd fixed. This one would simply be another victim on his very long list of popcorn destruction.

Right. Dead Nations Society. The stupid letter.

What the hell. This was the third time that week the same letter had been sent to him, in varying forms. He was debating on whether or not to call the cops on them for harassment. Or something. He'll think about it if he actually went through with it.

Gilbert cracked an eye open, pushing his cushion aside to glare at the slightly crumpled letter.

This is not a hoax :)

No matter how innocent that sentence looked, he would not be tided over with the power of hand-drawn smiley faces.

Maybe he'd just ignore the sender and hope they'd give up and stop.



JUST TURN UP. Seriously. You're being such a huge chicken about it.

- Dietrich (H.)

Gilbert's eye twitched.

Oh hell no. They did not just call him a chicken.


He found himself standing outside the local library, staring into the depths of the wall beside the entrance. He tried for a glare. It had that same popcorn texture that made him want to tear the whole thing off in the most violent way possible.

Gilbert glanced at his watch. 2:53 pm. He was early.

Fuck it. He was going in.

With that, he strode dramatically through the automatic doors, greeting the air-conditioning as if it were an old friend.

Their town's library was newly refurbished on the inside, unlike it depressing exterior. Some moderately rich old money guy paid for the renovations for some reason or the other, and now his name was plastered in gold on the walls. He wanted to be able to do that someday, if only to get his name written somewhere in big block letters.

A librarian puttered up and down some shelves nearby. Gilbert grinned and made a beeline for her. The lady smiled pleasantly at him before he could open his mouth to speak.

"Hey!" he hissed in his indoor voice. Everyone always said his usual voice was far too loud. "Know where the Dead Nations Society meeting thingy is?"

The librarian frowned for a bit, before perking up. "Oh! You mean Helena's club? You'll find them in our unused storeroom at the back."

"Thanks," He whipped out one of the letters and squinted at it. The librarian began to trundle off. "Wait. Any idea what people do there? Their invitation was pretty sketchy."

She paused, eyebrows creasing a little. "I'm not too sure myself," Came her apologetic reply. "I think they're some kind of... history interest group. Of sorts."

"Right," That didn't help matters. AP History was his worst subject back in the day. "Thanks."

He sauntered off towards the back of the building, plodding through a labyrinth of shelves and old books. The door was tucked away in a corner, flanked by two potted plants. It was marked 'Storeroom 2' on a little plaque. Beneath it was a piece of paper with 'Dead Nations Society' in Comic Sans.

Comic Sans.

This had better not be a waste of his time.

Gilbert twisted the doorknob, swinging the door open.

The room was tiny, 6 feet wide at most without the two large desks occupying most of the space. A large map of the world stretched across the back wall. The floor was bare concrete, unlike the carpeted flooring just outside of it. An exposed bulb bathed the room in warm yellow.

A lady sat at one of the desks, swivelling idly on her chair while poring over some papers. Three others laid all over the floor, clutching large, faded beanbags and lazing about. None of them paid him any mind.

Dang. And he thought he was early.

He cleared his throat as loudly as he could.

The lady's head jerked up in an instant, eyes widening at the sight of him. "Are you here for the meeting?"

"Who the hell is Dietrich?" He demanded.

One of the people on the floor looked over, a small smirk carved on his face. He was a teenager, all floppy blond hair, piercings and rebelliousness.

"That's me," He snickered. "Glad you finally decided to turn up, chicken."

He met the kid's eyes. Good Gott, was he like that when he was a teenager? He supposed he was. A slight smirk crept onto his face.

"Compare me to chicks next time," He said. "They're much cuter. And more awesome."

The boy looked so lost after that Gilbert fought the urge to laugh.

"Gilbert, right?" The lady cut in, smiling. "I'm glad you're finally able to make it."

"Right, yeah. What's this about? I'm pretty sure history clubs don't just frickin' invite random people in with some sketchy-ass letters."

"That will be explained in time," She breathed, a slow smile spreading on her face. "Let's do some introductions first and welcome the new guy, shall we? Come and sit on the floor."

"This better not be anything illegal," he warned.

The lady tutted and waved him off.

Gilbert manoeuvred himself awkwardly until he could finally nest himself somewhere between two guys. One of them handed him a dusty beanbag, which he clutched. This was all so weird. It was killing his awesome vibe.

The lady clapped her hands "Let's start with Hassan, here, and go clockwise."

Hassan smiled sheepishly from his position next to Gilbert. His hair was wavy, crow's feet crinkling the edges of his eyes. "I'm Hassan. 35 years old this year. I was a fisherman in Sumatra before Helena found me."

Gilbert raised an eyebrow at that. Helena found him?

Next, the boy from earlier jutted his chin out. "S'up. I'm Dietrich Mayer, and I'm awesome. I'm 16."

It was Gilbert's turn. "I'm Gilbert Beilschmidt. 25 years old. And I'm awesom-er." He smirked at the boy. "I work at the Starbucks down the street. I still don't know what I'm doing at this meeting."

Dietrich rolled his eyes at him, and Gilbert had the strange urge to snap his neck.

"My name is Brendan Mayer," Came a curt voice. "And I'm that Dummkopf's twin brother. Pleased to meet you."

The voice belonged to a quiet black-haired boy, who was eyeing Gilbert nonchalantly. A small smile was on his lips. Dietrich raised an eyebrow back at him.

"And I'm Helena Karpusi," The lady piped up cheerily. "I'm 29 years old, and a librarian here. I love cats."

"Great. Now can you tell me what's going on?" Gilbert grumbled.

The room immediately went silent. Helena was not meeting his eyes.

"Ooh boy," Went Dietrich.

"Well... It's a long story," Helena muttered evenly. "But I'll explain. Do you want me to ease you in or get straight to the point?"

Gilbert cocked his head. This had better not be anything more sketchy than initially assumed. "The point, please."

"Okay," Helena smiled wanly. "We're all dead nations."

There was another silence.

He stared at her. "...What."

"Have you ever heard of the conspiracy theory?" Hassan said. "It was quite popular in my country. It stated that all nations had avatars — Personifications that represented them. They are immortal." He winced. "Well, mostly immortal."

Oh no. They were conspiracy theorists. And possibly insane. He knew something was up. He had heard of the theory before, but he pretty much dismissed it in a second. It was flat Earth levels of stupid. These people were trying to suck him into it and he needed to get out. Now.

"Awesome. Yeah, um, I think I'm just gonna leave—"

He tried to stand up, but his escape was halted by Dietrich grabbing onto his right leg, pouting disapprovingly.

"Aw, fuck off!" He spat. He got ready to punt the teenager across the room.

"Please! I know we sound crazy! But it's true! You need to hear us out!" Helena pleaded.

Something caused him to freeze. Perhaps it was the desperation in her voice, or something more. Maybe it was just pity for these crazy people. It had to be.

"Fine," He grunted. Gott, he was getting soft. "So dead nations. I'm listening."

He plopped himself back down, glaring at Helena. She heaved a sigh of relief.

"Okay," Helena continued slowly. "It's like this. Have you ever felt any connection to a nation before? Some sort of calling, or nostalgia, when reading a history book?"

"Nein," he said, flatly. He was starting to regret his decision to stay.

"Maybe he isn't one of us. Khemet probably got it wrong," Dietrich muttered.

"Khemet is never wrong," Helena shot back steelily. That shut him up.

"His last name is Beilschmidt. He is a German nation," Brendan hummed. "One of the German states, perhaps. Like us."

"His last name is still Beilschmidt. It is his first life! He must have been dissolved recently," Hassan added, stroking his beardless chin.

"What the fuck is wrong with you people!" Gilbert screeched.

They ignored him.

"Oh come on, when was the last time a German state got dissolved anyway. It can't be his first life. It's just a coincidence." Dietrich snapped again, more peevish this time.

"Hush," Helena stared at the map behind her. Several territories were marked out, while others were crossed. Her hand trailed over Europe, and then over Germany. Her fingers finally rested upon a little flag tacked onto the map.

"It can't be," She muttered. She looked utterly ecstatic, eyes glinting strangely in the warm light. "Gilbert. When is your birthday?"

Gilbert scowled. "What are you gonna use it for? Why should I tell you—"

"Just answer!"

"Fine! Geez," These people were insane. "November the ninth."

"And the year?"

"1989. Yeah, yeah. Berlin wall falling and all that. I get that all the time."

The whole room went silent.

"Fuck," Dietrich gasped. "You're the DDR."

"...So the personification of East Germany does exist," Brendan murmured, staring at him with wide eyes. "We were under the assumption that Germany's personification was controlling both sides."

"I have to call Khemet at once!" Helena declared, bustling her way to a lousy-looking landline.

"You're East Germany," Hassan breathed. "The German Democratic Republic. I cannot believe it."

The declaration washed over him. A chill ran down his spine. And for a moment, he knew. The iron cross and swords and dissolving

"That's not my name," Gilbert barked. He had to let them know. He had to, before it slipped away again—

Hassan blinked. "Then what is?"

It was gone.

"I..." Why had he said that? What the hell did he just feel? Gott, they were infecting him with weirdness. "Gilbert, of course. You guys are insane. I'm out."

Helena stared at him sadly, but no one made an effort to stop him. He scowled one last time, before turning and shoving his way out of the room.


There was a little yellow canary at his window.

He felt that he should know its name.


He had several older brothers. He killed them all to save his younger one. No, he didn't.

How many younger brothers did he have? He was sure they were one.

The tinkling of piano keys trailed him into his sleep.


He just touched a girl's chest. He had sinned. To his credit, he didn't know.

Some nights he just knew Gilbert wasn't his name.


The two empires he had drinks with. There was one more who joined sometimes. When he was sad or rebellious or moping on the Fourth of July.

Two killed him. The other stood and watched and smiled with sad eyes.

He still drank with them after, because that's how they worked. War or death or not.


"Welcome to Starbucks. May I take your order?" Gilbert chirped.

He'd skipped work for the whole of the week, calling in sick, because he was. He'd been sick with dreams. Visions that flitted through his mind faster than he could even think.

Orders were passed (murmurs that escaped his lips). Names were called and paper coffee cups given. They were warm in his hands, and real.

He squeezed his eyes shut. He should have called in sick today too.

There was someone at the counter again.

"Welcome to Starbucks. May I take your order?" Gilbert chirped.

"Holy shit, you look really out of it," said the customer.

It was Dietrich Mayer.

"May I take your order?" He pressed, gritting his teeth.

The boy rolled his eyes. "One caramel latte. Bitte, chicken."

When the order arrived, he butchered Dietrich's name so badly that he got several dirty looks from other employees. On the cup was a very hastily scrawled 'Diit-rieck'.

"Fuck you," The boy said as he grabbed his latte.

He smirked. "I'm sorry, sir. I'm bad with foreign names."

Dietrich flipped him off.

"Beilschmidt," his manager sighed as he shuffled by him. "Take the rest of the day off. Get some rest."

And so he did. He sloughed off his uniform and trudged out blearily, apron balled in his hands.

Dietrich was right outside, sitting at the kerb and sipping his latte like a wizened old man. "S'up."

"You stalking me or something?" Gilbert grumbled. He ended up plopping himself beside the boy.

"No," Dietrich muttered. "Just checking if you were alright."

"Aw. How sweet. You care about me," Gilbert spat acidly. He was too tired for this.

The boy didn't respond. He turned the cup in his hands, staring into the depths of milky coffee. "I don't want to fight right now."

Gilbert pursed his lips. "Yeah, same here."



"Great," Dietrich muttered. "I need to talk to you about your dreams because Mama Helena set me up to it."

Gilbert exhaled. "Dreams. Yeah. I've had plenty. I haven't been able to sleep for days. So not awesome."

"The same thing happened to Brendan and me when we found out."

"No, no," Gilbert snapped. "You stop right there. We're not talking about the nations thing. I need to process this."

"You're just in denial, Dance-Dance Revolution."

"What the fuck."

The joke dawned upon him.

"What the fuck. How dare you!" Gilbert cried. "That was awful!"

Dietrich ignored him.

"We were like that too, you know. Denying. Then the dreams reached their peak, and they became memories," Dietrich said. He grinned. "Fucking hell, I was awesome. I had a ponytail and this badass scar over my eye. And I just knew, you know? I knew my nation's history, all of it, for, like, five minutes. Reality just stopped being real for a while," His eyes were glittering, alive for once. "Then after that? The memories were just gone, and we had to get our histories from Wikipedia."

He took a swig from the coffee cup as if it were old, bitter liquor.

Gilbert shut his eyes. "Drugs. They're giving us drugs. Somehow."

"Nah," Dietrich's face scrunched up in concentration. "Wanna know how I died?"


"I faded when my lands went to the Americans," He said, simply. "At least, I think that was what happened. After those five minutes of clarity, your mind just breaks down. At one point I think I was running four territories at the same time. Gott, that was a mess."

Gilbert nodded, not quite understanding. He felt adrift, hearing a kid spout out memories from another life. It couldn't be real. Nations. Countries. They were lands. Territories.

The half of a country that died after the wall fell.

"Wait a minute," Gilbert hissed. "You're saying that I'm a communist? Really?"

"Sounds just about right," The boy laughed, a familiar cackle with too many consonants. His expression turned wistful, distant. "Gott, we're so similar, aren't we, Gilbert? You picked up all that shit from me. It's awesome shit, but it's still shit."

Gilbert could only stare, speechless for once. The boy stared back at him with too-deep eyes.

What. The Hell.

"You're not yourself right now, are you."

It wasn't a question. The boy shrugged.

"I've only ever been me. I just happened to grow up under different circumstances this time."

The boy turned and sipped from his coffee. Gilbert cradled his own head in he hands. A migraine was coming on.

"You're in too fucking deep, Diet," He said. His voice sounded hollow. The breeze and the crisp asphalt, the afternoon daze. Everything and nothing seemed real. "I don't know what they did to you, to us. They're tricking you. Maybe there're even drugs involved."

Dietrich looked disappointed, eyes still holding that same glassy quality. Then he seemed to shake his head, and it was gone. Stone grey eyes narrowed at him.

"Whatever you say, chicken," Dietrich drawled. "It doesn't even fucking matter anyway. I'm leaving soon."

"Ja. Leave them. It's for your own good, kid."

"That's not what I meant," The boy glared at him, somewhat petulant. "I'm leaving right now."

He stood up and dumped the empty cup in a nearby trash bin. Gilbert groaned, forcing himself to stand. His joints were on the cusp of creakiness, far too early for his tastes. He was only twenty-five, for goodness' sakes.

"Oh. Need a ride? My car is awesome."

"Nah. No way. I barely even know you," Dietrich grumbled. "I'm walking back, and that's final."

"Fine. Be that way. I'm trying to be a responsible adult here."

Dietrich folded his arms, scrunching his face in the way he sometimes did.

"Wanna be a responsible adult? Then take care of Brendan for me," He snapped. "We aren't that close, but if he fucking dies again, I'm gonna... I'm gonna—"

His voice trailed off, and his face went even scrunchier. "What the fuck am I saying?"

"Drugs," Gilbert theorised, nodding sympathetically.

Dietrich waved him off, pinching his nose. "Ugh. No, no. Never mind. Bye."

The boy turned and walked off. Gilbert shook his head, snorting. A strange twist of nostalgia tweaked at his heart.


Hey! I got hit by this plot bunny a couple of months back, and I guess I'm turning it into a story now!

Out of all the dead nations present, two are OC (Hassan, the fisherman guy, and Brendan, resident sullen teenager. You'll find out which nations they are later). The rest are easily guessable and minor characters in Hetalia. More will be explained about all of them and reincarnation in general after Gilbert stops being a little shit.

This fic takes place in 2014 (so that Gilbert is 25), and is slightly AU because Gilbert dies after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I do not own the cover (I only own the weird edit I made on Paintbrush), and I've managed to trace it back to someone with the pixiv id 797264 (ケイ) I can't find a link to it, though, so here it is on zerochan: www dot zerochan dot net slash 716016

Disclaimer: Not a crossover with Dead Poets Society. It's where I got the title from, however.

Please feel free to comment with anything :D