Pairing: Ivan x Yao from APH
Summary: Stuck in a snowstorm during the holidays, Yao broods over the fact he's all alone in the world. Ivan, on the other hand, wants to disprove that thought.
The sun was beginning to dip below the horizon; taking with it its' cherished warmth.
Unseeingly, shimmering gold eyes stared out of the cave's entrance. White. For hours and hours on end, snow obscured his vision as it continued to pour down from the sky. Not a hint of another color, not even a single sound penetrated the blizzard's barriers. It was as if the snow had closed him off from the world; as if it wanted to hide him from the war, the bloodshed, the ugliness of it all.
He shivered, pulling the wool blanket tighter around him. So far away from home and unable to see the setting sun, he still knew when night approached. There wasn't a specific reason why he knew. Perhaps it was from experience and old age or perhaps it was the tightening sting of the scar marring his back, but nonetheless a sinking sensation filled his heart.
"You looked troubled, Yao." China twitched at the way the other nation said his name- teasing, savoring. Intimate. "Maybe I can help you relieve the stress, da?"
China continued to stare at the howling storm outside, pointedly avoiding the gleaming lavender eyes boring into him. "I don't need any of your so called help, Russia."
To China's irritation, an amused chuckle met his stony reply. He clenched his jaws, willing himself to stay still, to let none of his volatile emotions show on his face. Russia was trying to bait him; the sadistic nation revealed in people's misery and pain. Enough was enough. He was sick and tired of being a puppet show- dancing and singing to the tunes of the Western countries. Never again would he allow any of them the satisfaction of seeing his inner anguish.
"My, aren't you moody today?" Wrapping his arms around his knees, Russia smiled sweetly at China. "I bet you I know why you're in such a bad mood."
"Do you now?" China asked without much interest.
"You were thinking of your siblings and how you'll spend another year without them."
For a moment, China sat stoic still. Russia's answer echoed hollowly inside the cave until at last the final syllable was swallowed by the dank, cold walls. The sound of the roaring wind retreated as if it felt the tension rise between the two men. In its' absence, a suffocating silence reigned. Slowly, China turned his eyes towards the younger nation, seeing him for the first time since they began traveling together. The fire sputtered and crackled, sending sparks flying in the air between them.
"Russia, we are allies for the duration of this war and I'm grateful for all the help you've given me so far," China said in a soft, but unwavering voice, "But don't even begin to think you understand me. You know nothing about me or my family."
"My poor deluded, Yao. You think the only people that understand you are your precious brothers and sisters. Other than your broken family members, no one else can get close to you," Russia laughed, "You'd be wrong on both counts."
Still smiling, Russia cocked his head. Violet eyes raked over the slender man, lingering here and there, taking in every minute detail. The hair on the back of China's neck rose from the unnerving way Russia gazed at him. Over the decades, he became accustomed to the business like way the other nations eyed him. How much more could they take from him? What other unfair treaties could they force him to sign? More than once in the past, his northern neighbor gave him the same kind of cold, calculating look. However, right now over the flickering fire, his eyes spoke of a different kind of interest. It was warm and almost inviting. It was something China didn't want to explore further.
"What is it that you're trying to say?" China snapped with quiet ferocity.
"I've told you over and over, Yao, that no one knows you better than I do," Russia stated with a chuckle, "You've noticed haven't you? How over the years my eyes strayed towards you? I've watched you for so long that I know what you're thinking just by the smallest changed in your facial features."
China laughed caustically in reply, "Is that suppose to me impress me? That you're my own personal stalker?"
"No, of course not," Russia giggled at the silly Chinese and his silly comments. Stifling his laughter, he gazed at China with amusement. He wasn't done explaining yet. "I'm simply telling you, you have no one else, but me now. Right now, no one but me cares if you smile or cry. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea…all of them abandoned you." Russia said with a smile, "Or you actually abandoned them. I wonder how they felt when their older brother, China, had to give them away as collateral. Did they cry themselves to sleep the first few nights? And Japan….How is the sword wound holding up by the way? I haven't asked, but what with the recent pillaging of your cities and villages, it hasn't reopened has it?"
Ignoring China's whispered warning, Russia continued, "You're alone, Yao. Beaten and alone. You have no one. You haven't had anyone to call family for years. When you asked for help to fight against your own brother, no one came to help you. No one but me. So tell me again who-"
"I TOLD YOU TO SHUT UP!" China banged his fist violently against the rocks behind him and the cave trembled from the force.
Loose pebbles from the cave wall lightly rained down upon the two nations, but it offered no distraction. Hate and displeasure apparent for all to see, the fire's shadow danced across their faces as they stared at one another without a word, without a sound.
Fury, rage, loathing coursed through China's veins. How dare he? How dare he?! How dare the Russian mention the shambled state his family was in? He had no right. No right! It was their fault that his family was reduced to this. They tore everyone away from him. He could still remember the smirk on England's face as he led Hong Kong away. And Japan….His sweet, little, naïve brother seduced by the Western ways; his mind poisoned by their sweet words. His brother- his Ju Hua- leaving him to side with his new found friends….
Just like that, everything he wanted to hurl at his companion- the stinging words, the hurtful phrases- vanished. China slumped against the wall, no longer caring if he seemed weak or strong in front of the wintry nation. Tired- all his strength leaving with his anger- he closed his eyes and sighed.
What was the point? Why get angry? He should be use to this by now. The feeling of betrayal, disappointment plagued him for far too long. It was his anger that held him together till now; it was his wish to wreck havoc, to get revenge on those that carved him into pieces that fueled him.
But no more. No more….
Everything lost meaning the moment pale, shaky hands held the katana and sliced into his flesh.
He just wanted his family. He missed having his little brothers and sisters sitting around him on the dinner table- smiling, laughing, and yes, even bickering. He just wanted it all back.
China swallowed, a bitter taste in his mouth.
Now, he only wished this war to be over. There was no point in reminiscing the past when the one he was fighting was the last person he wanted to hurt or be hurt by. For his people, he would see this through, but he was so weary. So, so goddamn weary.
"Yao?" Russia's quietly called out for him, "Are you mad at me?"
Eyes still shut tight, China couldn't see the blonde's expression. However, he could imagine Russia masking- but not quite successful- his condescending grin with a look of pity and concern. China didn't want to deal with this right now. He didn't want the Russian poking and prodding all his hurts and aches with salt-tipped words designed to wound. Not when his defenses were down. Not when everything he was thinking and feeling could be easily read on his face. In the end, China decided it would be best to ignore him.
Minutes ticked by. The night grew late. China breathed a sigh of relief when Russia remained silent. He snuggled deeper into his blanket, taking this chance to rest his eyes. It had been a long day that day and his little bout with his neighbor didn't help matters either. The temptation of sleep was just pulling at him when Russia's muffled words jerked him back awake. He lifted his startled eyes towards his companion; his earlier intentions completely forgotten. "What did you say?"
Huddled in his little corner, Russia buried his face deeper against his knees. "I said I was sorry. Please don't be mad at me….Please don't."
China's lips parted in surprise. The confidence and arrogance from before all but disappeared; in its' place was a nation curled up in a tight ball, trembling. Completely perplexed at Russia's drastic change, China silently wondered what he should do. It was a fact he didn't like the younger man, but they were allies. To him, Russia was insufferable on most occasions, yet he owed him. When Russia was baiting him, what he said was the truth; China couldn't deny it. The whole world had turned their backs on him, letting him fend for himself against Japan. The only one who offered help was Russia. Oh, China knew Russia wasn't doing it for him. Nonetheless, it didn't diminish the genuine gratitude he felt when he finally had someone to stand by his side.
A whimper from Russia's side of the cave caused China to purse his mouth. He debated for a few moments longer and then, against his better judgment, stood up. In a few short, strides he crossed the cave to where Russia sat and threw his blanket at him.
"Wrap this around you before you freeze to death!" He flopped down beside the Russian, purposely looking away from teary lavender eyes peeking at him from beneath the cover. He scowled, turning his blushing face away. "What are you looking at? Hurry and wrap that around you! You're cold aren't you?"
"You're not angry at me?" Russia asked.
China shook his head and was rewarded with a heavy body hurled at him. Wet cheeks rubbed against his face and the Chinese nation didn't have the heart to push him away.
"Are you always such a cry baby?" China asked without heat.
Russia nodded. "Only if I know it'll help me get a girl."
China sucked in an indignant breath at the unspoken implication. Russia just called him a girl! But before he could vent, Russia wrapped the blanket around them tighter, whispering against his neck. "This feels nice. Can I hold you a bit longer, Yao? At least until I'm warm again?"
Will not be continued. Story terminated