Fandom: Axis Powers Hetalia

Pairing: PruAus

Genre: angst, tragedy, romance

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: APH belongs to Himaruya, and the countries factually belong to themselves. Or their bosses and the people that live there, rather.

Warning: character death

Summary: But now he knows he will die, as he gazes into the thick white flurry. And he lets his mind wander, wander far, far away, across snow-laden fields and frosted forests and crystal rivers, to happier times. And he wonders, and regrets.

A/n: I had this idea way back when Lily of the Lamplight was just a twinkle in its father's eye. I had voiced the desire to write George some PruAus fanfic of his own fanfic, based on the then throwaway line of Gilbert's scandal with an Austrian musician in Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart. He then told me he was working on LotL, which had me going into transports of delight, but the idea didn't leave me. So, here it is. Depressing times all round, huzzah!


Gilbert is frozen to his very bones. He huddles against a ruined wall, maybe the last remnants of a barn, and clutches his gun with rigid hands. The gloves don't help at all. His companions lie strewn around him, at odd angles from bullets and mortar. The wall behind him is pockmarked with shrapnel, and he has no ammunition left.

He hasn't moved for hours, just shivered in the wind whipping round the crumbling stone smeared with black soot. He sits there, in his hat and greatcoat and boots that are no protection from the savage Russian winter. He hasn't eaten proper food in three days, he's eaten snow to keep hydrated although he knows full well that's the worst thing to do, and he's tried to hope beyond hope. Hope for anything, even the Russians.

But now he knows he will die, as he gazes into the thick white flurry.

And he lets his mind wander, wander far, far away, across snow-laden fields and frosted forests and crystal rivers, to happier times. And he wonders, and regrets.

His regret is safe in Switzerland right now.

He knows their bickering would have become affectionate banter eventually, insults transmuting into endearments. He misses being able spread his hands over slight shoulders and bury his nose in brown hair, living the scent of thick music paper and ink and cakes, and hear those thin, elegant fingers weave the most beautiful of melodies on fat ivory keys. He misses being able to take those fingers at music's end and kiss them, every joint and knuckle and juncture – oh, how he loved those fingers.

He misses wandering into the kitchen to the scent of baking (Sachertorte, his favourite, he knew it was his favourite), winding his arms around a slender waist and kissing the back of a pale, warm neck. He misses stealing chocolate, licking his fingers mischievously and being pushed away with a kiss and a laugh.

He misses making love in front of the huge fireplace in the drawing room, on that thick, soft rug, firelight muting stern, sharp features into soft chiaroscuro. He misses his skin slipping over his musician's, his hands travelling well-worn paths and never tiring of the beauty they find there. He misses deep-mouthed kisses and bittersweet tastes and merging, desire-dark voices. He misses the heat and the passion no one else could believe possible of them, together. And he misses his name being breathed like a dying man's prayer, he misses violet eyes shaded deep with want and need, those slender fingers reaching for him and pulling him down into a sweet abyss.

He misses walks along broken animal trails under bright, piercing mountain sun, Alpine birdsong and the occasional red deer crossing their path. He misses lounging under trees, tangled tight together, the only people in the world. He misses winter skiing and rolling in the snow like children, much to his lover's complaint. Empty complaints, of course – he loves every minute of this silly frolicking. He misses warming up in front of the fire with Glühwein and companionable silence, light kisses to skin that needs to warm up…

But how can he miss what he's never had? How can he miss reaching out his arms and holding someone he's never held? Kissing lips he's never tasted? Loving a body he's never taken?

None of this matters at all. He left in fury and anger and scorn, he left him with a black eye and broken glasses and calling the girl he'd grown up with a whore for saving his life, but how he wishes he hadn't. He was so foolish.

And Gilbert weeps for what he's never had. His tears sting and freeze on his cheeks, but he's lost in memories he's never made and dreams he wishes he'd acted on. If he had, they'd be together now, fingers entwined and hearts conjoined. If he'd kissed instead of punched, they could have run to Switzerland, for their marriage didn't matter, it never did.

But instead he's here, crying in the most vicious of winters, and he longs for unknown certainties. He lets his gun fall from his fingers, holds himself though his muscles are stiff and uncooperative, and snuggles into the wall, imagining it is a soft mattress and pillows and a warm body he's never slept with. He sees nothing anymore beyond his match girl fancies, and his eyes close slowly. He smiles, the last thing he knows is arms he's never been in, and a mouth he's never kissed, and his name murmured in a tone that voice never used for him. And his dreams cradle him into frozen nothingness, his mind's swansong the most beautiful of lullabies on a grand piano in a sun-bathed drawing room in the Austrian springtime.