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Gilbert & Frederick

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Küstrin, Prussia

November 10th, 1730

The cell was anything less than pleasant. Gilbert had expected this considering Frederick’s father had shown over and over again his clear ‘dislike’ for his son. It had become a difficult thing to witness the beatings and humiliations of his crowned Prince. Yes, he had to admit, at the very beginning Gilbert had been unsure of Frederick and, if he was being at all honest, he was still unsure of him. However, as wild as Gilbert was, he knew that the way Frederick was being treated was not deemed appropriate neither was it a very Christian way of living. Frederick William I was all about Christianity and the way he behaved hardly showed that…not that Gilbert would qualify himself as being a good Christian either but certainly a better one than Frederick William.

It hadn’t taken much convincing to get the guards to open the cell door for him. They had already been frightened by him the first time he had come down, much before the execution of Katte. Those assholes had no right in prohibiting him even under the King’s orders. He was Prussia and they all belonged to him and Gilbert firmly believed that.

There was no showiness when he entered. Gilbert had slipped in, closed the door and stepped forward arms crossed over his chest. His brows were drawn together and he hardly looked pleased. Then again, there wasn’t very much lately that was pleasing…especially considering the fucked up state of his royal family. It also didn’t help that he had heard the during the execution of Katte…Frederick had fainted…and that didn’t give Gilbert confidence on whether the boy would grow up to be a good King.

However, that wasn’t entirely why he was here. Not entirely…only partially.

“You could have saved him?” The voice was feeble…defeated Frederick barely moved from his spot on the bed…hunched over and if the cell had been any lighter Gilbert would have seen the redness of his Crowned Prince’s eyes.

Gilbert doesn’t answer but a silver brow does quirk up and his lips thin even more than they had when he had first entered the cell.

“I know what you are, veil creature!”

Gilbert snorts and his lip curves up giving Frederick the impression that Gilbert was smirking. He uncrosses his arms and steps forward so he can square himself with the sitting and hunched Prince.

“As you should.” Gilbert says and if Frederick had thought Gilbert was smirking before…it was even more apparent now.

“Why did you not save him?”

There it was…the crack in Frederick’s voice…the pain. It was not a pain Gilbert was even remotely familiar with…and for this reason there wasn’t very much sympathy from Prussia. People died every day…what made this man’s death different. He had essentially committed treason by helping Frederick attempt an escape. He had seen lesser men killed for lesser reasons. Gilbert steps back from Frederick and he’s crossing his arms over his chest.

“Because it’s not my place to intervene with family matters that really don’t concern me except for the fact that my crown prince tried to run away from me.” Gilbert answers finally…after such a long pause of silence. It was almost amazing that Frederick hadn’t become uncomfortable with Gilbert’s intense gaze focused solely on him. The gaze was feral…wild. It was clear that despite being at the beck and call of the Hohenzollerns…he did what he wanted.

“He would have stopped for you!” Frederick exclaims finally looking up at his nation. “He…would have stopped…for you!”

Brows knit tightly together. “Your father would have killed him and then made an example out of me. He likes me even less than you do and our relationship is already quite complicated.”

Frederick glares.

There’s a lot of emotion behind that look and it has Gilbert slowly uncrossing his arms and titling his head to take it in. He was still trying to adjust to these delicate human emotions. Gilbert felt things…but he was still knew to the complexities of emotions…and he’d seen so many horrible things that anything less than courage, determination, and assertiveness seemed like a waste of time.

However, something about Frederick has Gilbert pausing in thought. He’d seen this boy grow…defy and even withstand horrible abuse. There was passion in this one…and then there was the death of Katte…the rumors about Frederick.

“You were stupid in trying to run away. You should have killed him.” Gilbert wasn’t sure what came over him but what he had planned to talk to him about now seemed unimportant.

This has Frederick looking quite taken back and….very much confused. Gilbert doesn’t say anything more. He was done…he had gotten what he wanted. “Don’t fucking run away again. You belong to me.” And because Gilbert was beginning to feel strange he storms towards the door, knocks, and then slips out.

Frederick stares at the door…his bewilderment amplified but his despair the same. His nation was strange…but the weird interaction had also re-ignited some sort of determined fire.

Chapter Text

There was always that question floating through Gilbert’s head on if things had changed after that fateful day and talk with Frederick in Kuestrin.

In part, no, but on the other hand Gilbert’s attention had been split from his own work beside Frederick’s father and Frederick himself. It was odd, finding that his thoughts wandered to the young crowned Prince….despite his former contempt for him because of his insistence to use French rather than German, his disregard to everything German, and his wayward plot to run off.

Obviously, the abuse that the young Prince had been forced to submit to was not something that Gilbert condoned. There had been something very wrong with seeing such divide in his own royal family, especially when the Habsburgs managed to act incredibly dignified even while dealing with their own problems. Whereas, with the deterioration of relations between King and Crowned Prince, dignified was not a word Gilbert would use to describe his own royal family…barbaric seemed more apt on most occasions.

Although, returning on matters of the Habsburgs, Gilbert wouldn’t put it past good old ambassador Seckendorff to exaggerate any positive news that came from the Austrian capital to make him feel less dignified at Roderich’s request.

The thought of Roderich looking down upon him made Gilbert’s blood boil. The man had a way of looking down his nose that just made you want to take a hold of it and twist it painfully just to wipe away the permanent look of arrogance that seemed to constipate the Austrian’s face.

Nonetheless, Gilbert knew that creating a proper kingdom and empire were works in progress. There was a need for patience. Gilbert could be a horrible example of that virtue, but he did try. Despite being ‘born’ in a situation where fighting was a necessity, where foreign enemies were more than happy to take things away from you, and where theology held a vital role in the politics of areas and peoples. This didn’t always lend well to patience especially when he needed to become stronger to protect the ideals pressed upon him.

The first change that Gilbert had observed was the fact that Frederick was attempting to re-establish himself in his father’s good graces by working hard. The young man was doing what he was told and becoming quite proficient in completing his tasks. However, despite this drive to do well, Gilbert knew that Frederick abhorred his father and that there was no way of salvaging that relationship at this point. For this reason, Gilbert knew that things hadn’t really changed, the tension between them would always be palpable.

The second change was Frederick’s re-admittance into the army. This had allowed Gilbert time to see the young man. He had demanded from King Frederick William that he be transferred to Frederick’s unit so he could ‘silently’ observe him. Silence meaning the occasional heckling he’d administer upon Frederick to test him. He never pushed too far, but enough to see a flash of something in Frederick’s eyes. It was that same flash that he had seen before his brisk exit….that fire which excited him. An excitement Gilbert kept to himself because he had to keep his distance, he didn’t want to seem too close to the crowned prince, not yet. Frederick’s father may have bad health but he wasn’t at the point of dying just yet, to bad (because Gilbert was tired of seeing that useless giant division that Frederick William seemed so proud of, they were honestly useless and easy targets…such a waste of money).

The third had been the time Frederick and Frederick William had shared one embrace after Frederick’s unit was awarded for being the most disciplined and well trained. Gilbert had half expected Frederick to take a cheap shot and stab his father, but luckily nothing of that sort occurred. There had been momentary worry that the young Hohenzollern had taken his suggestion to heart but killing a King in front of his own unit…not the most ideal place to assassinate anyone. Especially, if Frederick was planning to take the throne.

What gave Gilbert the biggest headache of all had been the fight that had occurred over who would be Frederick’s future wife. It was clear that Frederick William did not want Frederick to end up with anyone that would bring him even an ounce of pleasure. Although, Gilbert was more than aware of Frederick’s true inclinations if kissing Katte had been any indication of his crown prince’s predilections.

It was clear that the King would not budge on his decision to marry Frederick to Princess Elizabeth Christine of Bevern and once again the irritatingly meddling Austrian ambassador managed to put his fingers in everyone’s pies. Every time Seckendorff had a say in anything Prussian, Gilbert made a note of it so when he went down to Vienna, he’d make a big enough scene to justify Roderich’s many interference in his affairs.

He’d seen how devastated the news of Princess Elizabeth Christine made Frederick and as much as Gilbert wanted to come off as unaffected by the situation, it had bothered him to a degree. Gilbert mostly keeps this to himself but it doesn’t stop him from injecting himself physically into Frederick’s life weeks before the betrothal ceremony.

The taller Prussian didn’t even knock as he stepping into the room Frederick was currently occupying and found a perfect sofa to recline on to watch, with such intensity, Frederick’s activities. The aforementioned man was sitting, back slightly curved, writing at his desk….another letter Gilbert assumed. Frederick did like writing a lot of those.

“And what do I owe this visit? I’ve behaved myself…mostly.” Frederick speaks up without glancing up at Gilbert.

“You have~” He agrees with a nod that goes unnoticed. “Do I need a reason to come visit you?” A crooked grin appears across his features at this point.

“Seeing as you don’t visit me like this, I would say you do need a reason.” Frederick replies stiffly, this time turning in his chair so he could look over his lounging country.

Gilbert lets out a huffed laugh as he un-tucks his arms from behind his head to sit up a little bit. “I can’t come congratulate you on your soon-to-be wife?”

Frederick gives Gilbert a look cold glare which has the personified nation laughing a little louder.

“I’m kidding, Fritz. Geez, calm down.” At this point Gilbert is sitting up, elbows resting on his knees.

“My name is Frederick.” Frederick pronounces.

Gilbert quirks a brow and gives him a lopsided grin. “Is it now? I was positive it was Fritz. That’s your name to me from now on.”

Gilbert could see the calculating look in Frederick’s eyes as if he were already making plans on what to do with his wayward country. That same thrill from before passes through him as he pushes himself off the sofa so he can calmly pace the room.

“When I become King, I will not let you get away with the same things my father does. I will control you.” Frederick declaims.

Red eyes fall back on Frederick and they remain on him, inspecting him, as he wiggles his nose. “Are you threatening me?” Gilbert finally speaks up, a feral like look in his eyes, and an intimidating grin.

There is a moment where Frederick blanches but he straightens his sitting posture and puffs his chest out enough. “No, I’m telling you.”

Gilbert stops mid step as he turns his entire body to face Frederick. His eyes turn into slits but he doesn’t look at all upset. That, unfortunately, may have been difficult for Frederick to decipher with such limited exposure to Gilbert. “Good, I hope you make good on that then. No one has ever…’controlled’ me.”

Gilbert would always behave in the way he wanted too and as much as others would try and subjugate him, it only made him more defiant and more wild. It wasn’t that he was missing discipline because he was quite disciplined in his own right, it was more that he believed he knew better than the authorities of his being. He’d been around much longer, it should be him making the political calls and yet…Gilbert found himself a slave to them. His will being dictated by their choices and that didn’t sit well with him so when he could act out, he did.

This time, it was Frederick standing up, and although the man was not as tall as Gilbert he certainly held his own. “Then I will be the first and the last.”

Gilbert’s pupils dilate as he lets the thrill of those words wash over him. “I really hope so.” It was a challenge because as of now, he wasn’t sure what all Frederick was capable of but he wanted to know…he wanted to see if Frederick could control him. It was a far cry from Gilbert’s reality, but now he knew that he was in for a very interesting ride. “I’ll come see you tomorrow.”

Frederick is the one that looks a little surprised but he nods. “Tomorrow then.”

And this was the beginning of what was going to be a very complicated relationship. As Gilbert had said, he came the next day and then every day until Frederick’s betrothal ceremony.

Gilbert had even been there to distract Frederick from the fact that he’d be marrying someone he had no desire to…and that only reminded him of his father. When the wedding came around, Gilbert was at his side until the very end and of course, this had been noticed by everyone present. The interest Prussia had taken to Frederick easily translated to the beginning of Frederick’s freedom from his father’s iron restrictions.