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A Boy and His Fritz

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He was always obnoxious, arrogant, way too prideful and stubborn. He was a prince. He was my prince. I should've expected as much and yet, he still found different ways to surprise me. Like that bullshit with von Katte, but that's later. We gotta get to the early stuff.

He pissed me off. God, I couldn't stand him for the longest time. His vader was my boss so that had something to do with it, for sure. Frederick-William only wanted compliance. I was the first person he got it so completely from, never questioned what he demanded of me. Vader, Germania, he died when I was pretty young. I was always eager to please my kings, wanting them to see me as their own son. Frederick-William was easiest to imagine it happening with cause he hated his kids so much. He was so hard on them. Beating them with canes and calling them things I can't repeat eve God. It was a mess.

I have no reason to act high and mighty. I participated, I helped, I believed he was in the right at the time. Especially with Fritz. It hurts when the heir to the throne only speaks French, only wants to dress French, read French, and pretty much wants to be French. It hurts when he rejects everything that your nation represents. The only thing I had then was the military. He rejected that, thought it was unimportant when the arts and literature and playing his fucking flute were more important. Heh, maybe I'd still be a nation if he'd sticked to his guns on that principle. Then again, I'd be like Bavaria or some shit and I don't think I could handle that. 

I remember when he tried sneaking away to England with his boyfriend. That was the first time I ever felt respect for him. The kid had balls to get that many people to disobey the king and help him sneak off. Especially cause he managed to make it so they didn't even get their hands dirty. 

Ja, I was furious because it felt like he was running away from me instead of the king. I took it really personally. When he got back, I hit him. I hit him and I cursed him out. The look in his eyes then. He didn't see me as any different than the king. I was an extension of him, the embodiment of everything he'd wanted to escape from. 

I don't have many regrets, but I have a few. I never apologized to him for that. For how I treated him for his entire princedom. I always meant to. I always found a reason to pussy out. Funny, huh? I'll run head-on towards an army that'll crush mine without fear, but I'll always pussy out whenever it comes to people. Guess I'm a bit of a coward.

Ya'know what it was like watching his boyfriend die? That was the first time I felt true pity. The guy didn't do anything wrong. We knew back then he had tried to stop Fritz. The king and I just needed some heads to roll to save our reputation. It was all for show. The poor guy, even his last words were for Fritz. How much he loved him, how loyal he was, how he'd die like this a thousand times. It was so sappy. Wish someone would say that for me when I go. 

I don't know which image haunts me more - the actual beheading or the aftermath. Seeing Fritz starve himself, lock himself in his room for days, refusing to talk to anyone or respond to letters. It was scary. I tried taking care of him, but he didn't want my concern. 

Later on - years later, close to his death - I told Fritz what I'd done. I confessed to him how I'd been in the camp encouraging the execution of Katte. I was the devil on his father's shoulder whispering advice in his ear. I was collapsed at his feet, clinging tightly to Fritz's hand as I begged for forgiveness. He didn't respond for the longest time. I was pretty sure he hated me again. If he did, I don't think I could've handled that. I looked up, saw a few tears running down his cheeks. He pulled me up and held me close. He told me I'm a bastard, that of course he forgives me, told me I was the only one he had left, and made me promise to never mention the event again.

Shit, I feel like his ghost is gonna haunt me for telling it to you centuries later. 

I always felt bad for his wife, Elisabeth. I begged her a few times to go back to Brunswick to her family. Go someplace where she was wanted and where she was loved. That woman was the epitome of stand by your man. She refused. She actually loved him. She cherished the few times she would see him, the few letters he'd send her. None of it was romantic. He was always really formal around her, but who was I to burst her bubble. The marriage made Fritz somewhat happy and the king very happy. I was content cause my job was easier and the rumors about how gay he was would get around soon enough. Voltaire really did an awesome job with that. 

When he became king, I was excited. I know he denounced Machiavelli a few months before, but I knew that was bullshit. There was electricity about him. An energy with how he studied our armies, how he reformed them and kept recruiting more and more! I knew war was coming. Of course I knew I was gonna win. It's me. I don't lose when I've got a great leader. I'm too awesome for that shit. 

Meeting Austria face-to-face in the field kept me alive for centuries. I don't think that was the beginning of it, but that was the climax. People cite the Austro-Prussian War as it, but what do they know? They weren't alive then, they weren't alive for any of it. Only him and I know when it was. And it was in our fights for Silesia, for more than Silesia. That was just a front. It was always about who'd rule the Germanic states. 

Ya'know, sometimes I wish he would've won. I wish that he'd kicked me out of the German unification. Maybe I'd still be on a map. Maybe I'd be allowed at meetings and would've changed history in some great way. 

It's the most pointless fantasy, but I always slip into it. Can you really blame me?

I keep getting sidetracked. There's so much in these memories, I can't go back to them without thinking about everything. It was the best time of my life, but they're the most painful ones to consider. Shit, that's unawesome to confess to. I'll continue. 

France and Saxony were absolutely useless in the Silesian Wars. It was all me. Ja, they were technically there, but what did they do? I carried the weight. I was the true hero of the day. I don't mind. It's my name that goes down in history for the win. That's what matters in the end.  

Fritz looked truly happy then. He liked the attention we got. Everyone was intrigued by us. We were a powerful team. I'm not surprised Napoleon studied us so much. I would too if I were him. We had courtiers from France, Britain, even fucking Russia knocking on our door. You know what was awesome about Fritz? He told them all to fuck off. Didn't want anything to do with them. He just wanted to be left alone with his friends to bask in his glory. I think that's where I got that from. 

The period between the Silesian Wars and the Seven Years War, that was the good time. He wasn't a paternalistic man in the slightest. He had no desire for kids and didn't treat them well if they weren't mature. But he regarded me like I'd imagine a vader treats his son. I even started calling him that around this time. Sure, the people called him Old Fritz, but I only adopted that when he was gone. Figured everyone would find it weird if I was still calling my old boss my dad. 

We lived without a care then. He taught me flute, we composed together, wrote together. He would take me to the opera and theater every chance he could. He always made time for me. I don't think I left his side during this time except to shit and sleep. He was proud of my terrible poetry. It was God awful. I don't ever look at it cause it hurts. He taught me French - against my will, but it was the royal language so he made it mandatory even for me - and English. He'd sit out in the gardens to read and watch me hunt. Fritz thought it was a dumb thing to enjoy, but always acted proud of what I caught. 

Then war hit again. I was excited at first. He was terrified. He saw the threat that Russia, France, Sweden, and Austria allied against us posed. I saw it as a challenge that could easily be won. I may have underestimated them a bit. Or a lot. 

The Miracle of the House of Brandenburg is the only thing that saved us. Again, historians don't know jack shit when they definite it. They claim it was the death of the Tzarina and the rise of her nephew that was obsessed with me. I'm not kidding, I swear he had a crush on me, but it wasn't the flattering kind. I was really uncomfortable whenever he was around. The real miracle was that Fritz didn't kill himself or abdicate like he kept saying we did. With anyone else on the throne, even with her death we would've lost. Taking on France and a vengeful Austria requires the skill that only Fritz and I had. 

We won that war by the skin of our teeth. Fritz had to carry me back to Sans Soucci after the fighting. I was barely conscious. I don't remember weeks after that. I kept hallucinating, imagining I was a child again. It took me awhile to heal. The new territory didn't help since it was just as damaged as I was. 

When I finally came to, I never left his side. We shared a bedroom. He'd lost so much of his family during that war. He was afraid of being alone. He clung to me and his continual correspondence to Voltaire. Until Voltaire's death of course. I did whatever he wanted. His fingers were too swollen and stiff and he was losing all his teeth, so I would play the flute for him. I'd run through his favorites or create new things on the spot. I'd play for hours on end if he had wanted. I just wanted to make him happy again. I'd missed seeing him smile. 

We'd walk around the gardens at lunch. That was always when he reflected on his life to me. At the time, I thought it was really fucking weird. I'd been through everything with him. I knew it all and I'd seen it all. Made more sense for him to tell his biographers this shit. Not like I could go out and immortalize it in some book other than my diaries. I didn't appreciate it until Bismarck started making a name for himself. 

I can''s hard to explain why. I just do. It gives me more of him to think about. It's more than having one of his hats or walking sticks or still being allowed to live in Sans Soucci. It's him. It's how he saw things. A person's perspective is more valuable than any material object. Fuck, I've really turned into a sentimental old man, haven't I?

I used to say his death was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Dissolution beats it, but only by a small amount. The mythos is true, by the way. The clock in his room did stop at the time he died. I've got no fucking idea what he was doing up that early. Maybe he knew he was dying and wanted to meet his last adversary ready. That's how I like to think about it. I like to think it was painless. I know he was smiling. He looked so relaxed, like he finally got what he wanted all along. 

I woke up to the body. Sometimes I fall asleep still seeing it. They had to pull me away from him. I was sobbing, hugging him close. Maybe if I prayed hard enough, one of our Gods would give him some of my immortality. I think my pray backfired. Seems like I'm starting to get some of his mortality, huh? Ain't the world funny.

No, fuck you, I'm not crying. There's just some shit in my eye. Mind your own business.

Do you think he'd be proud of me? I'm not talking about me as Prussia. I know the answer to that anyways. He wouldn't be because all his hard work is know part of a German state he didn't want, Austria, a country he removed from the map, Russia, and Lithuania. So that's definitely a disappointment.

I want to know if he's proud of me, Gilbert. From 1740 onward, I always tried to make him proud. I only wanted to do what he would think is best, make him smile from beyond the grave. Do you think he is? I think so. I have to.

Sometimes, that thought is the only one that keeps me going.