"Do you trust me?"
Trust. Such a delicate concept.
Could he still trust, after all he'd gone through?
Green eyes shining with love and hope and pain showed no sign of expectation, no anger or promises of violence, and he knew.
He could say no. If he wasn't yet ready to trust again, he could say no. He could say no, and Poland would wait for him.
"Yes. . . ." The word fell from his lips, quiet as a breath of air. "Yes," he repeated, barely raising his voice. "I trust you."
His eyes were wet, his vision blurring as he met Poland's gaze.
"I trust you."
Clad only in a loose undershirt and shorts, Lithuania sat on the bed, his knees pulled tight to his chest with his arms wrapped around them, and waited. Poland knelt behind him, bouncing slightly on his knees.
Unable to bring himself to speak, Lithuania nodded. Despite his misgivings, he was as ready as he would ever be. He needed this.
The blindfold was silk, dark and soft against his skin as Poland drew it just tight enough to stay on. Still, it cut him off from the world, left him vulnerable in a way that had him beginning to shake as Poland's hands moved away.
"Just say the word, Liet, and I'll totally stop." The hand on his shoulder had him tensing automatically, waiting for pain but it never came. Thumb stroking gently over his shoulder blade, Poland reassured him in a voice both warm and serious. "I only want to help you."
Tension easing, Lithuania nodded, covering Poland's hand with his own. "Just. . . don't leave me."
"Never." Poland left a gentle kiss against the nape of his neck. "I'll be right here."
Lithuania's breath caught in his throat as Poland's hand turned to hold his own; his other arm caught and raised above his head. He reminded himself that it was only Poland, but his body trembled at the touch. "P-pozhaluista . . . ." Please. He couldn't think beyond the Russian plea, his mind blank with fear.
"Ssh, Liet," Poland held Lithuania's wrists together, resting his chin on Lithuania's head. "I'm not going to, like, hurt you or anything. You know that, right?"
Poland's voice was quiet, but Lithuania caught the hesitation and the hurt. The same hurt he tried to hide every time Lithuania pulled away from him. "I know," Lithuania offered, leaning back into Poland's chest. "I do know, but. . . I don't- I can't help but remember. It always hurt, even when He wasn't trying. And now I don't know how to make it stop!" He was crying, the tears soaking his blindfold. "I just want it to stop. . . ."
"Oh, Liet," Poland brought Lithuania's arms down, embracing Lithuania from the side as he did. "If you don't want-"
"No. I need to know it doesn't have to hurt." Tears still dripped from the blindfold, but Lithuania was determined. "Please, Lenkija. Please," he sobbed. "Show me it doesn't have to hurt."
Lithuania's hands were gently lifted into the air once more, wrapped with soft cord that was wound around his hands and across his wrists until his arms were bound together from the palm of his hand to just below his elbows. The terrified voice in his head screamed at his to fight, to escape before Russia can hurt him, but Poland's voice was constant, a quiet hum of reassuring Lithuanian that kept Lithuania grounded in the present.
Even if Russia had used rope that didn't tear at his skin, or spoken to Lithuania in any way that didn't leave him feeling filthy and weak, he would never have used Lithuania's language. After all, he never had before.
So Lithuania fought his fear, trying to relax, as Poland pulled him down onto his back, looping the excess rope around his wrists through the headboard. It didn't work, his heart pounding so quickly it felt like it might jump out from his chest; but Poland seemed to realize just how scared he was.
"It's alright, Liet." Poland spoke louder, massaging Lithuania's shoulder to ease his tension. "No one'll hurt you here. You're safe with me. You'll always be safe with me." Poland emphasized his promise with a gentle kiss to the base of Lithuania's jaw. "Just trust me."
Strands of hair brushed against Lithuania's face, smelling of fresh grass and strawberries. Poland. He could do this. He could trust Poland.
Hands began to push up his shirt, fingers rubbing gently over his bare abdomen. It tickled a little, and Lithuania couldn't help the laugh that escaped his lips as he tried to wriggle away.
Poland laughed back, clear and happy. His fingers moved faster, no longer merely rubbing but all out tickling, and Lithuania squirmed at the odd sensation. "Len-ki-ja," he protested, but between the laughter that was bubbling up inside of him and the trustlovehappiness that filled him by simply knowing that it was Poland, there was no sting in his voice.
"See, Lie-tu-vos." Poland enunciated the syllables back, his fingers slowing to drum out a soft rhythm against Lithuania's skin. "I can still totally make you laugh."
"Sure you ca- hey!" The tickling was back, Poland's fingers dancing up and down Lithuania's stomach. It felt good to laugh, finding the urge to tease Poland through the laughter. "I-I'll get -ahaha! - I'll get you back for this, Len!"
"You'll try!" Poland found a particularly sensitive spot just above his right hip, and had Lithuania all but convulsing with giggles.
It was enough to wear Lithuania out, along with the stress of the day, and when Poland finally slowed, running his fingers gently down the skin of Lithuania's stomach, he giggled one last time before shifting and trying to catch his breath.
"You know, like," Poland began, his breath warm against Lithuania's bare leg. "I love ya, Liet."
Myliu tave, Liet.
The words left Lithuania warm and breathless, though, he quickly realized, for all that Poland had never said them before, they didn't really surprise him.
Kocham cię, Polska.
"I love you, Polska," Lithuania whispered the words back, hardly realizing what he was doing, tears dampening the blindfold as he did.
He was happy.
Lithuania hardly noticed as Poland gently released his arms, massaging the muscles as he unwound the cord. He hadn't felt this warm since before Russia had taken his lands, before he'd been locked away with no way of knowing whether Poland still lived; before he'd begun to forget what it felt like to feel a gentle touch or to not feel fear.
Poland loved him.
Somewhere deep inside, he'd always known it, but to have Poland say it so plainly filled his heart with joy.
"You mean that?" Poland asked, lifting away the blindfold to meet Lithuania's eyes with an unusually serious gaze. "'Cause you know, I'm not kidding."
Lithuania only smiled, catching Poland's face in his hands and pulling him close enough to touch foreheads. "Would I say it if I didn't mean it?" He leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to Poland's lips, smiling at the taste of Poland's strawberry-flavoured chapstick.
Kocham cię, Polska. Kocham cię.