Rating: PG-13 for language
Summary: 1941. Germany and some of his friends turn up on Denmark's lawn one day and Denmark is Not Amused.
Characters: Germany, Denmark, and some brief mentions of their family
Warnings: The Dane's filthy mouth, Vikingfoolery, quantum physics, Wagner abuse, and....er, WWII?
Notes: Footnoted at the end! Also, you may recognize this, er, from a certain meme. Copping to it, sup.
Feedback: Oh, god, yes please!
Quantum science is probably his favorite thing in the entire fucking world, a good, stiff drink not withstanding. Once upon a time, his people thought they had to sacrifice a goat or two to get the seasons to turn. Now they know how to break matter down to its fundamental pieces. They could probably turn lead into gold if they wanted to, and that, he thinks, just takes the cake most of all, because if his people back then knew what his people now know, they’d absolutely shit bricks. Hell, even some of his people today are shitting bricks over it, but he thinks the implications of their brick-shitting are a teeny tiny bit different.
Actually, he knows they are, because that was 1913 and it’s been a few decades, and Ludwig’s camping out in Copenhagen and it’s just like quantum science. If he’s an atom, where his body and his landmass are the protons and the neutrons, then his people are the electrons, and Ludwig’s forces are external energy just stirring shit up. Niels is a bright guy, you see, he’s been doing his research: reading a little Kierkegaard here and there –a fine choice if he may say so himself— or checking his facts on Rydberg. Fucking clever, that, because nobody’s ever thought to make their atomic model quantum before. The idea’s been kicking around out there for some time, sure, but it’s one of his own that’s been the first to really do anything with it. Yeah, he’s pretty proud of the kid.
And he invites Ludwig over to his place for a drink, and for a talk because that’s what civilized countries do these days. They talk. Like adults. Like mature little atoms and molecules. Some days, he really misses the age where he did his talking with his axe, and the enemies of his people listened.
They listened, you see, or they did their talking out of a nice new speaking flap in their throat. Now he listens, and he watches Ludwig’s throat flap at him in his mind’s eye as Ludwig tells him that the tanks and troops and the fucking flags are just there for protection.
Protection? He asks. Protection from what?
From Arthur’s troops, obviously, Ludwig says, like he’s talking to the sort of guy who won’t get big ideas like “invasion” and “occupation” if he’s going to talk about them using big words. And then on top of it all, he stands up real politely and shakes hands and invites him over to his place for a drink some time like this has been fun for them both. Ludwig doesn’t smile because smiles aren’t sincere, and oh, well, takes one to fucking know one, he thinks. Ludwig doesn’t smile and shakes hands and tells him all about his new opera recordings and how he’ll have to come hear them some time. His fingers itch when he lets go.
Now, everyone in Europe knows Ludwig’s still sore over getting his face shoved in shit for his last great big stand. It doesn’t take a quantum theorist to see that Ludwig’s gotten back up for the sole purpose of showing the continent whose dick he thinks is really the biggest. And nobody’s just going to lie back and take it (and there’s some joke in that one about thinking of England anyway, isn’t there?) So when Ludwig tells him that the troops swarming his pretty capital are just there to protect him, he wants to say bullshit, you lying potato-fucker, that is absolute, grade-A, Heisenberg certainty bullshit. Because in all seriousness, he was kicking Arthur’s sorry Christian ass up and down his little island long before Ludwig could even sit up to snort sauerkraut. But he doesn’t say that. He doesn’t say it, and God only knows he wants to, because grown-up countries play nice. Civilized countries do.
So he goes to see Ludwig when the summons arrives for him.
To Ludwig’s credit, he’s a perfectly nice guy when he’s not parking his tanks right on your lawn and messing up your begonias and your energy levels. But that’s just the problem, you see, because nice guy or not, excess energy upsets the system. The system can’t handle all that excess energy because then the atom gets unstable, starts to break down, and electrons start jumping ship left and right and it’s a mess for everyone involved.
And Ludwig would know all about getting rid of electrons for the sake of stability, now wouldn’t he?
So that’s why it’s, oh, you know, only a teensy-weensy bit uncomfortable for the Dane when Ludwig welcomes him to his office and sits him down for a drink and a talk. He pours out some nice imported whisky and gears up his phonograph and they sip from dainty little tumblers and listen to Die Walküre without even setting foot in an opera house.
I know this story, he tells Ludwig.
Ludwig figured he might. Ludwig likes it, too. Richard Wagner liked it, too.
So does your new boss, he says.
Yes, so does his new boss. Ludwig pours himself some more to drink.
He asks about the tanks again, and the flags.
They’re to protect him from the English, of course.
Well, yes, that much has been established, but he really doesn’t think the English will be a problem. He’s perfectly stable as is.
Stable? Ludwig raises an eyebrow, which is a look that would probably fall under the category of “quizzical” on the face of any other country, on someone without a stick up their ass and their lifeblood pouring out in trains.
Stable. His electrons are fine, thank you very much, and don’t give me that look, he says, it’s, the, uh…
Like with Heisenberg, he tells Ludwig. You remember his work, right?
Of course. Naturally.
Yeah, he’s been talking with Niels. Bohr, that is, Niels Bohr. Fucking smart guy.
And it’s a metaphor, Jesus, does he have to explain everything to Ludwig? A country’s like an atom, he says, and Ludwig nods.
The nation is as the nucleus, and its people and precepts the electrons in orbit.
Yeah, exactly. He always knew Ludwig was bright.
I’m worried about your brother, Ludwig says, and oh, that’s rich.
He’s like, who, Norge? Don’t let him hear you call him that, he’d kick you in the shins. Got the bruises to prove it, too— want to see?
Ludwig assures him that, no, that’s quite alright, and offers him another drink.
Well, sure, why the hell not?
So Ludwig pours him some more, and asks him how he’s enjoying the music. It’s not bad, really. The whole thing’s an interesting concept, where he’s writing the music like he’s writing a novel, and it’s full of tone and themes and everything, but it’s real heavy stuff to listen to, and he’s not sure how much of it he can take in one sitting. But he does the civil thing and tells Ludwig it’s very interesting, and, of course, he likes the story. Ludwig agrees again, he rather likes Siegmund.
Ludwig looks at him over the rim of his shiny glass tumbler and drains his whisky without blinking. And now he wants another drink, too, because suddenly, everything makes so much fucking sense.
The tanks, the flags. Heisenberg, Siegmund— everything.
The crazy fucker thinks he’s Siegmund.
The Dane could really use another drink. Because if Ludwig fancies himself Siegmund, he’d really hate to think what that makes him. Hunding, most likely.
As he remembers it, Hunding was Siggeir before he was Hunding.
You’re out of your mind, he says. What about South Jutland?
They share more than their stories, they two.
Ludwig tells him no, I only want to help. The occupation is for your own good. Arthur will be making his move any day now.
He reminds Ludwig that Siegmund went unto Hunding’s home wearing wolf-skin. And wearing wolf-skin he stole away what was rightfully Hunding’s, his pretty Sieglinde.
The wolf bit’s relevant, you see, because that’s the name Ludwig’s new boss goes by. The guy wears his wolf-skin like it’s something to be proud of, but it’s not fooling anyone, or at very least, anyone who knows better. In better times, the only men who wore the hides of wolves were ones unwelcome. Outlaws. Outcasts.
Ludwig sets his tumbler on the table with a high, glassy clink, and he’s just wearing this look. It’s a look that says he’s going to make his way across the sea and into Norge’s place to stake his claim whether the Dane likes it or not, and like hell he’s going to let that happen.
His fingers itch.
I’m not scared of the hairy bastard, he tells Ludwig again, and tells him again that he’s been busting Arthur’s sorry Christian ass for so long, he could do it in his sleep. Ludwig kindly reminds him that he’s Christian now, too, and so he drains the rest of his drink and kindly reminds Ludwig that the only difference between the hammer and the crucifix is that his icon of choice doesn’t have a corpse stuck to the front. That shuts him up real fast.
Good. Because he knows what’s going on back at Ludwig’s place. He hasn’t seen it himself, mind, but oh, he’s heard the stories. Ludwig’s excess energy’s managed to stir shit up back there, too, and like hell he’s going to bring it to Denmark. And Ludwig’s eyes keep straying up north to his brother’s place.
He ignores that nasty feeling in his gut and he tells himself that it’s not going to happen in his house, or his brothers’ homes, either. Not gonna happen on his fucking watch.
He does miss the old days, he really does. His brothers try to pretend they’ve changed. They say they’re better now. They’re civilized. Bullshit, he thinks, bullshit. Just because you live in a pretty house with a garden and a dog and fresh pies cooling on the windowsill doesn’t mean you’re civilized. He knows what’s going on in Ludwig’s place.
He knows what’s going on behind all those pretty uniforms and negotiations, and his stupid-fucking-so-called-civilized talks over fancy whisky and opera. And if pretty little civilized talks meant anything to pretty little civilized people, Ludwig wouldn’t be crawling up his ass with tanks right now. He wouldn’t be smashing store windows in with rocks, or sending his people to slaughterhouses built for men.
That’s not a death befitting a man. Cattle, perhaps, but not men. His fingers itch so badly for his axe that he could practically scream.
So when Ludwig goes back to his men and things get too excited and too unstable, he sends a few of his particularly unstable electrons over to Berwald’s place. It’s okay. Berwald’s still neutral. He can handle a harmless bit of charge.
Heisenberg comes crawling to his shores again within the year. He goes to see Bohr, and nobody’s really certain what for. Even he’s a little uncertain, and that’s pretty funny since, you know, it’s Heisenberg and all. Ludwig comes knocking again, and he tries to be all casual and civilized about it, like it’s no big deal that Heisenberg’s trying to squirm out of his grasp. For all his dick-waving, he needs Heisenberg right now, and that’s just a fucking fact.
And then when Ludwig starts offering in his pretty little civilized way to help him clean up the problem among his people, the Dane just looks at him like he’s lost his mind and says:
Problem? What problem?
Yeah, he’ll be laughing so hard in Valhalla, that cocksucker’s going to hear him all the way.
Copenhagen: The capital city of Denmark, and the title of a play about physicists Niels Bohr (whose name I will one day stop typoing as "Borh") and Werner Heisenberg, and the ramifications of studying atomic theory in the midst of war.
About Copenhagen, the play: http://ohst.berkeley.edu/publications/c
Niels Bohr: Was Danish. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/top
Heisenberg: Of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Was German. http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~his
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: States that "one cannot assign exact simultaneous values to the position and momentum of a physical system. Rather, these quantities can only be determined with some characteristic ‘uncertainties’ that cannot become arbitrarily small simultaneously". From http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-un
The Bohr model of the atom: http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/l
Neutrality: Denmark was neutral. German forces moved in with the intention of gaining access to Norway; they purported that they were just trying to protect Danes from British troops. Their advance was in direct violation of a non-aggression pact. Sweden was neutral as well.
Viking culture: One round of research I did for a different fic said the Danes were the most notorious to terrorize European Christians until they at last converted. They were also the last Vikings to convert to Christianity. Viking culture was pretty hardcore-- one line from the Poetic Edda says:
"Cattle die and kinsmen die,
thyself too soon must die,
but one thing never, I ween, will die, --
fair fame of one who has earned."
Basically, live fast, die in battle, and be the most fucking hardcore you can ever be. The few, the proud, the vikings.
Valhalla: Odin's feasting hall for dead heroes. The viking version of heaven, where they feast and fight (for fun) until Ragnarok.
The hammer: Mjolnir, the Norse god Thor's hammer. Used extensively as an amulet by the vikings. Examples here: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/hammerpix.htm
Nazi occupation of Denmark, and the rescue of the Jews: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.n
Wolves: In some old European ballads, reference to wearing wolf skin might indicate an outlaw. Some of the mythology is explored here: http://blog.buzzymultimedia.com/werewol