America’s a bright stain on Ludwig’s left, and Gilbert hates him.
He hates a lot of things, these days, if he’s being honest.
“It’ll be better now,” America’s chattering away, eyes bright under his glasses. He speaks in English, the whole fucking world speaks in English now, but Gilbert can remember a younger boy without glasses, clutching a rifle and faltering over German words. “You’ll be whole again, a real country.” And he says it to Ludwig, who can only nod his head and murmur agreements in passive tones, and it feels like—like Gilbert’s some cancerous growth on Germany’s side, like he needs to be excised for the benefit of the body.
He feels old and the world feels strange and unfamiliar.
He wonders if this is how it was for Germania—skin stretched too thin on his bones as the world changed itself around him until he just couldn’t catch up anymore, until there was no place for him left, so he faded quietly away, as people just forgot.
Ludwig looks at him, and his eyes are blue and very real. Gilbert’s legacy, all neat and pressed into a suit.
He doesn’t hate him, even as he hates everything else.
“Brother?” Ludwig asks, his voice soft and raised at the end. America watches them, eyes narrowed and sharp.
“I’m tired,” Gilbert says, waving a hand. “Think I’m gonna go lay down.”
Ludwig lets him go reluctantly, a half-made step in his direction to follow. America stops him with a hand on his elbow, coolly confident.
He tries to muster up anger, tries to find anything that burns hot, that isn’t just quiet resignation. He can’t.
This isn’t his world anymore, and he feels tired with the thought.