1949, Soviet Russia
The wooden doors to the basement creaked open. A silhouette of a man trailed down the stairs. He grumbled about how "demeaning" and "embarrassing" this was.
He reached the ground with a loud huff. Finally taking in his surroundings, what he saw in front of him was an absolute amazement. A woman with long brown hair sat on the floor. The last time he had seen her, she had looked perfectly healthy. Now she looked frail and malnourished. She picked away at various items and put them back in their proper spots.
The man's red eyes filled with hope for the women to be who he suspected. "Lizzie?" His words were barely a whisper. Elizaveta – as she preferred to be called – looked up. Her greens met his reds with an equal amount of small hope.
"Gil." She breathed. For the first time in years she felt truly happy.
Gilbert gave a big grin. "Well aren't you a sight for sore eyes." He sat down beside her. He remembered where they were once more and lost his signature smile. "What does he have you doing in this hell hole?"
Elizaveta flicked her eyes to the floor. "Why we're all here." She sighed. "Ivan captured my country and promised to make us better. So far, his promises have just been empty words. In the beginning, I'd tried to fight him, but the war…" She chocked on her words.
The silence swallowed them up and they went back to their work. After a long couple of minutes, which felt like hours to the pair, the Hungarian broke the fog.
"So how did Mr. Awesome wind up here?" She smirked. "I thought they dissolved your country in nineteen forty-seven."
Gilbert frowned at the memory. Flashbacks of those allied bastards telling him that he had lost his country – his name, his everything – consumed his thoughts. Francis, the one man he thought he could trust Prussia's hands in, betrayed him and agreed. Some pal.
He escaped his thoughts and answered her. "Ja still dissolved. Aber, now West is literally West." At her puzzled expression he continued. "There's a wall that divides Berlin. Germany is now split in two. Since I had a load of free time with no country und all, I was the likely candidate for the eastern half. As soon as that happened, that freak got me."
Elizaveta gave a faint smile. "You know one good thing about being here?"
He raised an eyebrow. "What in Gott's name could be gute about being here?"
She reached out and held his hand. "We're not alone. We're going to get through this hell. Together."
The pair stayed like that, in peaceful silence, for quite some time. When they heard footsteps coming from above, they separated and went back to work.
The door squeaked open and a large man poked his head through. "I hear a lot of talking and not a lot of working." A voice with a thick Russian accent sang. "Does Mother Russia have to come down there to teach you two how to work without me checking up on you every five minutes?"
The sound of items and boxes being moved was his only answer.
"Da, that's what I thought." You could hear the cruel smile in each of his words. The door slammed shut behind him. The Russian had begun going back to where he had come from.
In fear of the man returning to carry out his promise, the two worked in absolute silence. They worked until dinner, making sure not to share word or touch.
Two days from their re-encounter
The clink of knives and forks cutting through the room filled the air surrounding the dining room. Ivan sat at the head of the table. His smile was wide at the beauty. All these nations he controlled, all his comrades. It was a beautiful sight he couldn't get over.
Just like he had always dreamed.
He tapped his fork against his glass of vodka. All eyes flicked towards him. Ivan took a deep breath and began speaking. "Even though you have – with much effort – become one with me, each one of you is still a nation. Seeing as such, all of you are invited to this month's World Meeting tomorrow." Excited chattering broke among the ranks. "Now that doesn't mean you'll be getting there with any help from me. The meeting is in West Germany. I wish you all good luck at getting there."
All the excitement seemed to have been drained from them. Each one of them was shocked. How were they supposed to get there? Because of their resistance to the Russian take over, their governments were poor. They couldn't pay for them to take a plan over to West Germany. This was ludicrous!
Gilbert jumped up, slamming his fists down onto the table. "How the hell do we get there then? Do you plan on giving us cars? Plane tickets? Do you expect us to walk all those kilometers for a fucking meeting?"
The Russian smiled. "Honestly, I don't expect any of you do to do anything. If it was that easy gaining control over all of you, then none of you wouldn't have the motivation to find a way to make such a long trek."
Gilbert opened his mouth as if to defy him, but began walking. "I'll see you at the meeting. I have to go pack."