Chapter 1: Trees
Lithuania was walking in the cool morning air. The sun was just about to start rising. Going out at this time of day was a treat she liked to give herself. The trees were so still that she almost thought that they were made of stone. Her heavy leather boots caused the twigs beneath her feet to crack and shatter the silence. It was not winter just yet, but she could feel it coming.
The sound of whimpering came to her ears. There was no wind, so it could not be that. She thought it must have just been some animal. Maybe a deer or a bird had been injured and was crying out for help? No, that was not it. She pursued her lips in concern and turned her feet to go in the direction of the noise.
There was something struggling in the branches of a bush. It was a little girl. Her beautiful, pale hair was tangled up with the griping claws of the bush. She was crying and looked scared. Her fear was causing her to try and pull herself free which was just causing her more pain. Big tears were rolling down the girl's face.
"Shhh, calm down. I'll help you," Lithuania said with a gentle smile on her face.
The little girl with eyes like crystals looked up at her. Lithuania moved closer. She could almost hear the clatter of the child's teeth. With the gentleness of artisan she reached out her hands. Lithuania worked slowly so that the girl would not be hurt. She hummed a song that the women in her lands would sing to children. The girl was staring tentatively at Lithuania. Branch by branch she freed the delicate hair.
"There, you're all free now. What is your name sweetheart?"
"Where are your parents, Belarus?"
"I'm looking for papa." Belarus sniffled. "He disappeared and left me all alone."
"What is his name? I can help you find him."
Lithuania's green eyes widened. She wrapped her arms around smaller body and pulled her close in a hug. The body in her arms was stiff for a moment, but then relaxed into the embrace. The brunette could feel her heart ache for this little country.
"I-I'm Lithuania. How about you stay with me until we find Polotsk?"
Belarus played with the hem of her crude, dirty dress as she considered the offer. She had been looking for her father for awhile. By now she was cold, hungry and dirty all the time. This woman gave off a feeling like her father did. Belarus graced Lithuania with a smile when she nodded.
Lithuania lifted up Belarus in her arms. "I'll take you to my home. I can get you a new dress and will brush the tangles out of your hair.
Chapter 2: Door
Lithuania was wearing a fancy dress. She stood outside of a door. It was just a simple wooden door. Right now, it might as well have been made of iron. She brought up her hand and knocked again.
"Go away," came the muffled voice of Belarus.
"Bela, please open the door."
"This won't change anything." Lithuania tried the door. It opened easily. Her eyes took a moment to adapt to the darkness inside.
The person who lived in this room liked it dark. That person was currently lying face down on her bed. The clothing that had been laid out for her to wear was crumpled up into a wrinkled pile in a corner. There were knives lying next to the clothing. It would surprise very few that knew her if she had taken the sharp tools to the beautiful dress.
Lithuania crossed the floor and sat down on the edge of the bed. "What is wrong?"
Belarus waited so long to answer that Lithuania thought she was going to ignore her. "I don't want to live in his house."
"His? Do you mean Poland?"
Belarus nodded, her head still buried in the pillow. Lithuania reached a hand out to touch a shoulder. The hand was not thrown off, but it was not acknowledged either.
"Bela, I promise you, I might be marrying Poland, but you will be staying in my house."
Finally, Belarus turned her head to look at Lithuania. Her eyes were just slightly red. One cheek was resting on the moist pillow. "I don't want to move."
"Bela, the day you move out is the day I let someone break all of my fingers." Lithuania was treated to a small laugh. "Will you please just come for the meeting? I need your help."
Belarus slowly nodded.
"Good, I'll find you another dress to wear." Lithuania got up and searched around for another dress. She eventually settled for a dark dress with ivory trim. "How about I brush your hair for you after you are changed?"
Belarus got out of her bed and approached. She reached out and touched the dress. Without a word she stripped and changed into the new clothing. When she was changed she sat in a hard, wooden chair. Belarus closed her eyes as she had the familiar, soothing sensation of a brush running through her tresses. In her trance state she did not notice Lithuania adding a ribbon.
At the word she stood up and looked in the mirror. Belarus turned to face Lithuania. She was neither smiling nor frowning, but Lithuania would know that she was still not happy. Belarus walked past Lithuania and left the room.
Lithuania stood there, staring at the back that was walking away from her. She had never realized how lovely Belarus was.
Author's Note: Lithuania controlled all of the land that is modern Belarus. I am well aware that according to a deleted comic that Belarus had been beating up Lithuania since they were children, but speaking historically Belarus was highly influential in a positive manner to the development of Lithuania. Even after Poland and Lithuania got "married" Lithuania retained sole control of Belarus.
Chapter 3: Fingers
The fabric of her white dress shirt agitated the latest wounds that Russia had marred her back with. Lithuania winced as she walked the halls of Russia's house in her uniform. She would need to get them dressed later. That could wait until after she finished her work. The last time she had gone for medical treatment before doing everything else she had been "treated" to more time alone with Russia. She considered herself lucky this time when all things were considered. He had only beat her today.
The sound of pendulous globs of flesh bouncing told her who was coming before she saw her. Ukraine turned the corner and was walking the way Lithuania had come. The older woman smiled at the Baltic nation as they passed each other. Lithuania did her best to smile back. She continued on and stopped when she passed an open door.
Inside was Belarus. She was sitting in a chair with her back to the door. On a nearby table was a familiar ribbon and a brush. The pain in her body faded away as she saw what sat before her. Her cheeks turned a pink shade. If Poland was here, he would have teased her for her crush. She took a step into a room. Then she took another. The carpeting hid the distinctive sound her military issue boots made. A few more steps and she found herself behind the object of her affections.
Lithuania picked up the brush. She felt its weight. Hesitating, like she was about to break something, she reached out and began to brush the hair that was in front of her. There was no insult hurled at her. No knife was pressed at her throat. If she was being honest with herself, she would admit that Belarus probably thought she was Ukraine. The Baltic nation did not care about that right now. She did not care about living in the Soviet Union. She did not even care about how Russia had changed Belarus. Right now, she was in the past.
The thoughts and dreams she had once had raced through her head. For a long time she had fantasized about telling Belarus how she felt. Her dreams would always end with kiss, embraces and maybe even a marriage if she was lucky. Even though in reality she had by now confessed her feelings and been rejected, she let herself relive the old fantasies. Together they could leave the USSR. The two of them would live together. They would take care of and support each other. There would be plenty of trips to visit Poland and America. Of course they would go visit Ukraine as well.
"There, all done," Lithuania said with a smile.
Belarus turned her head. Her eyes were as cold as ice as she reached out and grabbed the hand the held the brush. She twisted and forced the brunette to drop the brush. The other hand moved to Lithuania's trapped one. Without a word she systematically broke all five fingers on that hand.
Chapter 4: Ribbon
You should, like, totes wear this one, Liet," Poland said as he held up a frilly dress.
Lithuania laughed at her best friend. "Poland, I think you have more fun dressing me up than you do yourself."
"I already know what I will look fab in."
"We're going to be late to the meeting."
The two debated for a few more minutes what exactly Lithuania was going to wear. Poland started to insist that she wear a particularly cute yellow dress. It was backless. Lithuania winced at the thought of letting others see her back with the old scars on them. When Poland realized what he had suggested he suddenly switched to a reasonable compromise between his fashion and Lithuania's practicality.
The two left the hotel room together. The elevator was in the middle of the floor. They talked as they waited. Vietnam joined them a few seconds before the elevator doors opened. The Asian country gave her opinion on the very important matter of delicious pastries. The three exited on the ground floor and walked together to the large conference room that would be used for the meeting. Vietnam separated from the two and went to her assigned seat.
The conference started and it proceeded calmly and orderly, for about twenty minutes. North Korea had eaten most of the muffins. Egypt had his head down on his arms. America was trying to get Mexico off of his lap. England could not decide whether to kill France or Ireland, so settled for texting them curses. China was trying to convince Taiwan to move back home. Russia just sat there smiling as he watched everyone. New Zealand was trying to explain to Pakistan that she was not Canada. Indonesia and Malaysia were arguing over a cat.
It looked like it would be awhile before they would be able to vote on what to order for lunch. Lithuania excused herself. Poland was too busy gossiping with Hungary to notice. She got up and walked to the women's bathroom. Lithuania stepped inside the pink tinted room to see someone that made her breath catch in her throat.
Standing inside was Belarus. Her ribbon was on the counter. She was struggling with her hair. There was no acknowledgment given to Lithuania. Lithuania felt a bit uncomfortable just standing there watching, but she felt like she could not move without some form of permission.
"Do you need any help, Bela?" Lithuania expected to not even be acknowledged, though she always hoped for more.
Lithuania was at the other nation's back faster then she thought she could move. She took the brush and began to work her hair back. When it was in order she picked up the blue ribbon. If the material hadn't been synthetic, she would have thought that Belarus had owned this one for at least eighty years. With the ease that comes from years of practice, she put the bow back in its right place.
"There you go."
Before Lithuania could move her hand, she found it trapped in a grip as cold and rigid as iron. Belarus was now turned around and facing her. Her other hand reached for the fingers she had broken so many times by now. Lithuania winced in anticipation for the pain, but she never even considered to try and pull away.
"You broke your promise," Belarus said.
"I'll keep on breaking them."
"You don't care?"
Belarus pulled Lithuania's hand closer to her. She could see the scars circling each finger like wedding rings. Her other hand came up to the captive limb. The skin was calloused from hard labor. She had never broken the fingers in the exact same place. Each scar represented a year. She had kept track.
Belarus kissed the fingers.