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Lietuva

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UNITED NATIONS PHYLOHUMAN MONITORING AGENCY

UNPMA-440 “LITHUANIA”




Former Name: Aukštaitija

UNPNMA Code Name: Tolis Laurinaitis

 

Year of Birth: ~1180 (self-estimate)

Biological Age: 19

Sex: M

Height: 176.3 cm

Weight: 70.2 kg

Hair: Brown

Eyes: Green

Other Identifying Features: Extensive scarring across back

Superhuman Abilities: Sense of smell and hearing well beyond that of a normal human

 

Relatives:

  • UNPMA-428 “Latvia” (Cousin)

Other Known Associates:  

  • UNPMA-112 “Belarus”
  • UNPMA-233 “Estonia”
  • UNPMA-616 “Poland”
  • UNPMA-643 “Russia”
  • UNPMA-804 “Ukraine”
  • UNPMA-840 “United States”

Criminal Record:

  • 2 counts desertion from the Soviet Armed Forces  

Current Address: [REDACTED]

 

Threat Level: ORANGE

  • Although Lithuania is rather weak by phylohuman standards, he makes up for it with a constant awareness of his surroundings and mild paranoia. Lithuania is experienced in wilderness survival, as well as the arts of stealth and ambush. Most importantly, Lithuania does not exhibit the extremely eccentric behavior typical among phylohumans, making him adept at blending in with normal human society.


Protocol 12 Procedures: In the event of Protocol 12 activation, it is crucial that Lithuania is neutralized as quickly as possible before he has the chance to go underground. Neutralization is to be carried out via silenced tranquilizer rifle fired from a concealed position. Agents are expected to hit the target on their first shot.

Chapter Text

The small chunk of amber had been dangling from its thin chain around Lithuania's neck for as long as the nation could remember. So long, in fact, that Lithuania could no longer recall where he had gotten it or why he was wearing it, just that it had always been there.

Lithuania felt the weight of the pendant against his chest as he sat down with his morning cup of coffee. He briefly contemplated taking the necklace off. How long had he been wearing it, anyways, 800 years? More? He reached under his shirt and grasped the stone in his fist, tugging at it and feeling the familiar pressure of the chain against his throat. His head was certainly a lot bigger than it was when the pendant was hung around his neck all those centuries ago. Removing it now would require a pair of pliers.

The more Lithuania thought about it, the more he realized he didn't want to take the pendant off at all. Its continued presence around his neck was almost soothing, a reminder of who he was, a constant in a life full of variables. The small orange stone had kept him together in the face of Russia's vodka fueled rage. It had given him comfort as he bled in a wet ditch, having been shot in the back by his best friend. It had given him warmth during the cold, sleepless nights spent barricaded inside his own parliament, awaiting the wrath of the Soviet Army. Lithuania could only think of one time the pendant had failed him. His stomach churned. No. Stop. Bad memory.

Lithuania quickly switched to a new train of thought. Where had the necklace come from, anyway? His earliest memories were mainly of him and his sister alone in the middle of the woods, back when they steered clear of human settlements and instead asserted their dominance over the wildlife, yet he was wearing the pendant even back then. Maybe a god had given it to him? That was unlikely. The gods gave out jewelry that shot beams of sunlight or turned you into a tree or dragged you underwater to have sex with the sea queen. Lithuania’s pendant hadn’t done any of those things. Yet.

His intense speculation was interrupted by his cell phone’s ringtone. He answered the call. “Hello?”

“Guess what, Liet? I haven’t talked to you since last year!” The voice of Lithuania’s ex blasted out of the phone’s tiny speaker.

“What? Poland, you just spoke to me eight hours ago,” Lithuania paused, turning towards the new calendar on his wall. “Oh, you are making a joke. Very funny Poland.”   

“I knew you would get it!” said Poland. “Hungary owes me, like, 20 euros. Anyway…” Poland then launched into a detailed description of his entire morning as Lithuania finished his coffee and did his best to keep up. “...and then I saw a lady walking her dog and the dog was, like, suuuper cute! I’m sending you the pic right now! Do you also think it’s cute?”  

I can’t really say. The picture quality on my phone isn’t too good.”

“What do you mean, the picture- Waiiiit. Liet, like, how old is your phone?”

About 10 years. Why?”  

Liet, I’m coming over. We’re buying you a new phone.”  

That really isn’t necessary…”  

“It totally is. I can’t send you pictures of cute animals if your dinosaur of a phone turns them all into low-res garbage. Think of it as, like, I don’t know, a New Year’s present or something. Anyway, see you in a few hours. Toodles!”  

Lithuania snapped his phone shut and sighed. It was going to be another long year.



Chapter Text

The rye fields stretched from horizon to horizon interrupted only by thin rows of tall trees, like green icebergs on an amber sea. It was in one of those trees that Poland and his partner sat, admiring the landscape. At least, Poland was admiring the landscape. Liet didn't seem at all happy with his surroundings. He had the far-away look in his eyes he always got when he was being contemplative about something, and his expression carried a mild combination of confusion and dismay, like a father whose son had just come out as Protestant.

After they had been sitting silently for an hour or so, Poland finally decided that enough was enough. "So, Liet, are you gonna, like, tell me what's wrong, or am I gonna have to drag it out of you like always?" he asked.

"It's just-" Lithuania began, but then stopped himself. "Never mind. It's nothing."

Poland wasn't buying it. "Liet," he said, more sternly this time. "Tell. Me. What's. Wrong."

"Alright!" Lithuania relented "It's just that, wasn't this whole area a forest just last century?"

"Yeah, I guess so. What's your point?"

"I don't know, It just feels sort of depressing, how it's all disappearing so fast."

"Liet, no offense, but forests kinda suck. These fields-" Poland gestured to the rippling waves of stalks that surrounded them. "-are what's keeping our people alive, and that means they're keeping us alive. Also rye is, like, the only thing people buy from us, so these fields are basically money."

"I suppose you're right. But still..." Lithuania trailed off, distracted by something in the distance. He pulled a spyglass out of his jacket pocket and trained it on the horizon. "We've got movement," he said. 

"Is it Sweden?" asked Poland, drawing his pistol.

"No, it's just the scouting party," answered the other nation. Soon enough, four horsemen were gathered at the base of the tree.

"So, where are the Swedes?" asked Poland, "and, like, how long until they get here?" 

"The Swedes will not be coming this way, sir," said the leader of the scouts. "The river is flooding, and the ford they were heading towards is impassable."

Poland turned to Lithuania, who shrugged and picked up a bugle that had been nestled beside him in the branches. At the sound of the horn, the dozens of pikemen and musketeers who had been concealing themselves in the rye stood up and began brushing themselves off. The two nations leapt down from the tree. "So, where's the Swedish army headed now?" Poland asked the scout leader.  

"We think they're headed for another ford five miles upstream, in the woods outside Nieprawdziwy," responded the horseman. "If we hurry, we can beat them there."  Poland glanced back towards Lithuania. At the word "woods" his frown had been replaced with a smile that even Poland thought was kind of creepy.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" he said, chuckling. "Let's go hunting Swedes."

Chapter Text

“...and Botswana told me he walked in on Brazil giving Argentina a blowjob in the men’s room yesterday afternoon,” Belgium finished reading off her notes and sat back down at the conference table.

“Thank you, Belgium,” said Hungary. “Monaco, where does that leave us?”

“Well, Hungary, you’re out forty euros because you were betting on Argentina and Chile becoming an item this year,” said the principality, pulling up a speadsheet on a tablet. “Czechia, the Carribean Island orgy you predicted failed to materialize, so you lose twenty-five. Ukraine wins fifty Euros for correctly anticipating Syria and Persia hooking up, and Poland wins fifteen for predicting, I quote, ‘Brazil shutting up for five seconds in order to shove someone’s dick in his mouth.’” There was some grumbling around the table as wads of cash changed hands.

Hungary was proud of what she had built. Under her stewardship, the meetings that had originally been a place for the female countries of Europe (and Poland) to hold meaningful discussions about common issues without being harassed by some of their more… flirtatious male counterparts (i.e France, Spain, and Prussia,) had evolved over the decades into the world’s premier phylohuman gossip mill and yaoi betting pool.

A large map was rolled out over the conference table. It was covered with annotations, describing in detail which nations were in a relationship, which nations were breaking up, and which ones were still single. As Hungary surveyed her masterpiece, she noticed one spot that was still blank.

“Poland, if Lithuania’s still off-limits you need to write it down,” she said. Poland looked up from where he was transcribing a detailed account of Paraguay’s recent run-in with Syphilis.

“Why would Liet be off limits?” asked Poland.

“So you two aren’t a thing anymore?” asked Hungary.

“What?” exclaimed Poland, “We never were a thing! Well, I mean, we were, but not like that.”

“Oh, really,” She turned to Ukraine. “You and your sister used to live with them, didn’t you?” she asked. “Do you support Poland’s claim?”

”I do,” Ukraine answered. 

“Interesting...” said Hungary. “Wait. Have you-“

“No,” said Ukraine, “and neither has Belarus.” 

“So let me get this straight,” said Czechia, “You three lived, alone, with the only brunette north of the Danube-“

“Wait, isn’t your little brother a brunette?” interrupted Belgium, “He’s north of the Danube.”

“Fine. You three had exclusive access to the only brunette north of the Danube who I won’t throw you out of a window for messing with, and yet none of you were fucking him?”

“Not for lack of trying,” muttered Poland, looking at Belarus.  

Belarus did not look up from where she was drawing little hearts on the map around Moscow. “I have no idea what you are talking about,” she said cooly. 

“Girl, don’t lie. You were like, totally in love with him. It’s not your fault he figured it out three centuries too late.”  

Belarus drew her knife and placed it on the table. “The next lie that comes out of your mouth will be the last,” she threatened.

“Let’s change the subject,” decided Hungary, after a long pause.

Chapter Text

Lithuania had been overjoyed when he heard the voice on the radio declaring his independence.

 So overjoyed, in fact, that he immediately ditched the military unit the Bolsheviks had thoughtlessly assigned to him, (Lithuania still didn’t know why the Russian government had trusted him with the defense of their “Union” less than a year after forcibly annexing him into it) and headed on foot to Kaunas, where the provisional government was supposedly being established.

 He arrived in the city just in time to watch the killing begin.

 Lithuania’s people were slaughtering one another. Men, women, and children were being dragged from their homes and shot. Shops and synagogues were burning, sending tendrils of orange flame scrabbling at the night sky.

 Lithuania searched for answers, but all he seemed to find was more death. Why were his citizens murdering their Jewish population after living in harmony for over half a millennium?  lf there was a government, why weren’t they trying to stop the massacre? Were they in on it?

A woman running in the opposite direction collided with the nation, and  they both fell to the ground. The woman was crying as she scrambled to get up, her face streaked with tears. There was a crack of a rifle from down the street, and the woman’s lifeless body fell on top of him.  

 “Are you alright?” asked the woman’s killer, rushing over. The man reached out his hand which Lithuania took wordlessly.   

He acts like he hasn’t just murdered someone in cold blood,” thought the nation as he struggled to his feet. His stomach churning, Lithuania emptied the contents of his digestive system into the gutter before sitting down on a nearby bench and placing his head in his hands.  

 “Wow,” said a tiny voice in his mind, “A pogrom in 1941. As if there wasn’t enough proof that you have no place in modern society.”  

  There was a shuffle as the killer sat down beside Lithuania on the bench. “Look, kid” said the man, “I know it’s scary right now, but just think: in a few months, this will all be over. Then you’ll get yourself a big farm, a beautiful wife, and more kids than you can count…”  

 “... and I get to tend the rabbits,”  thought Lithuania.

Chapter Text

Whenever Lithuania’s fellow nations came to visit him in Vilnius, (which, admittedly, hadn’t been very often,) they were always surprised by how diverse the city was. They didn’t understand how people of three faiths and over a dozen languages had managed to congregate in what they considered the backwater of Christian Europe. Truth be told, Lithuania didn’t really understand it either. It had just sort of happened.  

Standing in the middle of Times Square, Lithuania finally realized what Poland and Sweden and Latvia and all the others had felt when they came to Vilnius.

If the world were condensed into one city, Lithuania mused, it would look like like New York City. Every street was home to a different sort of people, from Irish to Italians to Chinese.

The city itself was unlike any other. In addition to streetcars, New York had entire railways built underground, just so that its people could get from one part of the city to another; buildings taller than anything Lithuania had ever seen threatened to pierce the heavens themselves, and glowing electric signs made the night as bright as day. Although Lithuania was slightly disturbed by the lack of greenery, he was in a forest nonetheless, albeit one of stone and brick and steel.  

“Yo, dude, are you gonna be standing there all day? Because I’ve got a zillion more things I need to show you,” America said from behind him, eating his third hot dog in as many hours. “What are you looking at, anyway? Do they not have skyscrapers in Livonia or whatever?”  

“No,” answered Lithuania, “they don’t.”

Chapter Text

United Nations Phylohuman Monitoring Agency



Dear [Sir Madam] ,  

 

Congratulations on your recent [Inauguration Coronation Coup ]! We are looking forward to working with you as the new leader of Lithuania. As the leader of nation, your cooperation is of the utmost importance in managing the phylohumans living under your jurisdiction.

What is a Phylohuman?

A phylohuman, literally meaning “man who is a tribe” refers to a living embodiment of the cultural traditions shared by a group of people. A phylohuman’s existence is bound to the culture they represent, and their personality reflects this: Many of the phylohumans you encounter will look and act like caricatures rather than real people.

Aside from the above, Phylohumans are biologically identical to humans. Their appearance will typically match that of a teenager or young adult, but they can age if their culture begins to fade. They will almost always look attractive. It is still unknown what determines a phylohuman’s sex. Some phylohumans may also possess superhuman or supernatural capabilities.

What happens if a phylohuman gets hurt/killed?

While observed evidence indicates that events such as natural disasters can have a drastically negative impact on a phylohuman’s physical and mental well-being, it is unclear if this relationship works both ways. Due to the potentially catastrophic consequences, not to mention the ethical problems, phylohuman experimentation is banned under international law.  

Further information is enclosed alongside a copy of your phylohuman’s UNPMA dossier.

Best wishes, 

H. Takahashi

Director, UNPMA

Chapter Text

Lithuania was a stranger to his own language. This revelation came to him as he lay bruised on the floor of Russia’s basement, realizing he didn’t know the Lithuanian word for the implement Russia had used to “fix” him.

Lithuania honestly couldn’t remember the last time he used his own language in an extended conversation. His sister had been the only other nation to speak it, and she’d been gone for several centuries. When he brought Belarus and Ukraine under his control, it was only natural that he should learn to speak their language, Ruthenian. After all, there were more of them than there were of him, right?  When he became friends with Poland, Lithuania learned Polish. When Russia dragged him back to St. Petersburg in 1795, Ukraine had helped Lithuania learn Russian. Then, twenty years later, Russia returned from another war with Poland in tow.

After Poland had lead the nations of the Commonwealth on their third unsuccessful escape attempt, Russia decided that enough was enough, and he would no longer stand by as his “favorite cousin” Lithuania was corrupted by Polish language and culture. (Lithuania tried to explain to Russia that they weren’t closely related at all, but arguing with Russia was like smashing one’s head against a brick wall.) This was a problem, because Poland refused to learn Russian, or speak in any language beside Polish. Russia therefore devoted countless hours to punishing Poland and “curing” Lithuania, accomplishing both tasks through use of blunt instruments, like pipes, sticks, and in this instance, a pipe wrench. Which he didn’t know the Lithuanian word for.  

“Ow,” said Poland, who was lying nearby. “That was, like, way worse than usual. Still, he’ll never break us, right?”  

“Poland, I’m tired of getting beaten because you refuse to learn Russian,” Lithuania said in his native tongue. The words slid across his palate like warm honey.  

“Can you, like, speak proper Polish, please?”  

Lithuania chuckled. “No,” he said.

Chapter Text

“Poland, wake up. I need help cleaning out the stables.”

“Uuuugh…” Poland groaned, rolling over in his cot.

“Come on, I thought you liked horses,” said Lithuania.

“Can’t you just get, like, Belarus to do it?” asked Poland.

“No,” said his friend, “she outranks us now, remember? Now come on, get up.”

“I can’t,” said Poland.

“Why not?”

“Uhhh… I’m sick.”

“Sick?”

“Yup,” said Poland, “totally sick. My economy must be doing horrible today.”

“Poland, I seriously doubt- actually, forget it. I don’t feel like arguing with you,” Lithuania left the room, muttering something under his breath in his own language.

Seriously, what’s been up with Liet these past couple years?” Poland thought, as he pulled his thin blanket back over himself. “ Does living in this house just turn people into cranky assholes? What if  I wind up becoming an asshole?”

 

Clunk

 

Clunk

 

Clunk

 

“Crap,” thought Poland. Anyone living in Russia’s house for long enough soon learned to fear those heavy boot-steps. Poland’s view of the ceiling was soon obstructed by a large, smiling, face.

“Little Polsha,” said Russia, “Why are you still in bed? I thought you would be helping Litva in the stables.”

“Can’t. Sick,” said Poland. It had taken five months of Liet speaking to him in nothing but complete gibberish (Which Poland later learned was Lithuania’s own language,) before he had finally relented and learned a little bit of Russian. He was far from fluent, but the beatings came less often now.

Russia nodded, frowning. “Hmmm..,” he said, before his face lit up. “Do not worry, little Polsha! I have an idea! I will be back soon.” The larger nation swept out of the room, cheerfuly humming a folk tune.

It took Poland all of three minutes to jump out out of bed and hurriedly get dressed. He didn’t know what Russia’s idea was, and he didn’t want to stick around to find out. He was in the process of jamming on his shoes when Russia burst back into the room holding a cast iron poker.

“Did little Polsha defeat the germs all by himself?” Russia asked, seemingly surprised.  

“...yes?” answered Poland, extremely hesitantly.

“Oh!” said Russia, giving Poland a rough pat on the head. “You are very brave!” Without another word, he turned and left the room.

Wait, what if I had actually  been sick?”  wondered Poland.

Chapter Text

 

“We have arrived, my lady.”

The driver’s voice awoke the Livonian Order from her slumber. She turned to the two other occupants of the carriage as she waited for the footman to open the door. “So,” she asked them, “what do you think?”

“It seems rather… small, for a nation so large,” said Estonia, as they stepped out of the vehicle.

“Are you sure this is where my cousin lives?” asked Latgale, “Because Uncle Prussia said it was a huge black castle with lava and spikes, and this just looks like a big house.”

“Letgallen, what did I tell you about your uncle’s stories?” said the monastic order.

“Not to repeat them in public?”

“Precisely. Now remember, it is important that both of you let me do the talking.” She turned to the carriage. “Wait here,” she told the driver, and stalked up to the main door of the house with her two charges in tow. She lifted the knocker with a wrinkled, bony hand and slammed it down onto the solid wood. In a more perfect world, she mused, she would have been bashing the door in with the pommel of her sword, while the forest burned around her. However, her crusading days were far behind her, and she didn’t even have the strength to don her own armor.

The door was answered by Polotsk, who immediately slammed it in Livonia’s face. The former knight could hear a heated argument on the other side. The door was opened again, this time by a very… “well-endowed” woman whom the Order didn’t recognize.

“Hello,” said the Order, “Is Lithuania home?”

The other woman cocked her head apologetically. It was clear that she didn’t understand a shred of German.

“Li-th-u-an-i-a,” Livonia said, slower this time. The nation at the door seemed to understand this, and motioned for the trio to follow her inside. As they entered, Livonia noticed the resemblance between the woman guiding them and Polotsk, who was still giving the Order an icy glare.

So this must be Kiev,” thought Livonia. “The cradle of Rus’. Of all the people to fall to, you fell to the only heathen left on the continent. You make all of Christendom proud.”

Said heathen was waiting for them as they entered his sitting room. “What do you want?” He asked, his voice stained with venom.

Livonia took a seat, and motioned for her companions to do the same.

“I need your help,” she said, switching from German to Latin. Her discussion with Lithuania would almost certainly touch on some sensitive subjects that she’d rather Latgale didn’t know about.

“Why should I help the woman who murdered half my entire family?”

“Because I’m not doing this for myself. I’m doing this for him,”  the Order pointed at Latgale.

“Your son?”

“Your cousin.”

“What?” said Lithuania, shocked. “But you told me you killed them all- You bragged about it-”

“I spared a couple, alright?” snapped Livonia. “Are you surprised that a woman of faith is capable of showing compassion and mercy ?” The look on Lithuania’s face indicated that this did, in fact, surprise him. “I don’t have much time left,” the Order continued, “and you’re his only surviving relative who isn’t completely senile. I need you to take him in.”

“If you are doing this for him, then why not let him live on his own? Why come to me?” asked Lithuania.

“Because,” Livonia hissed, “If he isn’t living here with you, he’ll be living in Moscow.”

“Alright,” said the nation who, until three minutes prior, had thought he was the last of his kind, “you have my attention.”

Chapter Text

The thunder of hooves on the packed dirt road signaled the horse’s arrival at the secluded monastery. The horse’s rider, a young boy who couldn’t have been older than seventeen dismounted the animal and hitched it to a post. As he approached the main door, the boy reached under his shirt to grip the amber talisman hanging from a chain around his neck. After muttering a quick prayer, he reached out and hammered on the great wooden portal with his fist.

A metal plate set into the door slid aside. “State your business,” said a gruff voice from within.

“I’m here to see Lady Beilschmidt,” answered the boy. The plate slid shut again, and there was a clatter of bolts being drawn back. The great door swung open, revealing a monk standing on the other side. “Follow me,” he said, leading the boy into the depths of the monastery.

Lithuania had never been in a Christian temple before, and didn’t really understand them at all. “Why do they need all this space to worship a single god?” the young nation wondered, as the man in robes led him through a series of courtyards and shaded terraces. The building was drafty and almost completely silent. Somewhere in the distance, people were chanting in a language Lithuania didn’t understand.

Lithuania’s guide stopped at another door, gently rapping on it with his knuckles. “Sister Julia!” he called, “You have a visitor!”

“Is it my brother?” came the muffled reply, “If so, tell him to-”

“It is not Brother Gilbert. It’s, uh, a young boy.”

“Oh? Very well. Send him in.”

Lithuania was ushered into a dark study. Leather-bound tomes lined the walls, surrounding a single table in the center of the room. The Livonian Order looked up from her work, and upon seeing Lithuania she developed a wicked smile.

“You’ve got quite a bit of nerve showing your face here, Aukštaitija,” she said. “What brings the lost little lamb to the wolf’s den?”

This comparison confused Lithuania. Wolves’ dens were warm and cozy, especially if they still had wolves in them. This place was about as different from a wolf’s den as possible. However, he decided not to criticize the crusader’s use of poetic devices.

“I’m here on behalf of my lord,” he said, “also, I’m called Lietuva now.”

“So I’ve heard…” said Livonia. “Your sister isn’t too happy about that isn’t she? She’s assembled quite the coalition to take you down. I should know,” she chuckled, “considering I’m a member.”

“That’s why I’ve come here,” said Lithuania, “I’m asking you to reconsider.”

“And why, pray tell,” asked the Order, leaning forward and resting her chin in her palms, “would I do that?"

“Because I have seen the error of my heathen ways, and wish to embrace the One True Faith,” Lithuania recited, silently begging forgiveness from the gods.

The Order’s smile vanished. “Well,” she said, “that does change things. You’re lucky I find the idea of standing up your sister more entertaining than killing you.”

“So we have an agreement?”

“Hmmm…” answered the crusader. “How do I know you’ve truly let Jesus into your heart, and you aren’t just doing this to get my brother and I off your back?”

Lithuania sighed, producing a large bag from within his cloak. He dropped it onto the table, letting the silver rods inside spill out.

Livonia’s red eyes sparkled.

Chapter Text

“And now, for the next item on the agenda, we’ll be discussing…” Austria squinted at the parchment in his hand. “The morality of the continued crusader attacks on the Grand Duchy of Lithuania? Oh, Jesus Christ…” he muttered, “very well, let’s get this over with. Poland, you have the floor.”  

Poland strode out to the center of the room. “Like, finally,” he said. “Anyway, I would like to complain about how that asshole,” he pointed at the Teutonic Order, who had fallen asleep in his chair, “keeps attacking my friend Liet. Like, it was kinda cool at first, but now it’s gotten kinda old, especially after we kicked his ass back at Grunwald. So my friend and I would like him to totally stop.”

“Will the Teutonic Order respond to these charges?” asked Austria. The only response emanating from the caped crusader was loud snoring. “I am probably going to regret this,” announced the older nation, “but would someone please wake up Gilbert?”

Castille gently rapped his knuckles on the side of the Order’s skull. “Hey, muchacho,” he said, “anyone alive in there?”

The knight awoke with a start “Wait, is something finally interest-” he caught sight of Poland in the center of the room. “-oh. Am I being asked a question?”

“Yes, we were wondering-” began Austria.

“What we were wondering is, why the fuck won’t you leave my best friend alone?” interrupted Poland.

“Oh, that one’s easy. It’s because he’s pagan scum.”  

“Wait, we still have those? I thought we got rid of them all.” said Castille, confused.

“Lithuania’s Catholic, like the rest of us,” countered Poland.

“Okay,” said Castille, “you had me worried for a second there. I thought-”

“...and has been for nearly thirty years!” finished Poland.

“What?” asked Castille, even more confused than before.

“In order to become a true Christian, one must learn to love Jesus. The sword is totally not a tool of love! Therefore, I don’t see how Teut's method can work, like, at all. In fact,” Poland continued, “I think maybe if we, like, stopped treating heathens like crap, maybe more of them would want to convert.” This proposal was met by gasps from many of the assembled nations.

“Well, how do you know he isn’t pulling a fast one on you?” asked the holy Order, “I’m sure you all remember what happened in 1251,” the negative murmurs around the room made it clear that no-one knew what the crusader was talking about. “He let my sister baptize him, just so he wouldn’t have us breathing down his neck while he beat the crap out of his sister and her friends, and then boom. Back to worshiping trees within a decade.”

“Wait, you can convert back to paganism?” asked England, from another corner of the room. Castille looked like he was going to have an aneurysm.

Austria sighed once more. “Alright, I’m not pretending to care about this for any longer than I have to. Poland, if you and your… “friend” are having difficulties with Gilbert, that’s a problem the three of you need to work out among yourselves. Gilbert, we didn’t send you into the Baltic to do God’s work; we did it to get you out of our hair. That being said, I couldn’t care less about your ‘crusade,’ but I would like to know how the tribe you and your sister have been trying to kill for nearly a century and a half is currently the largest nation on the continent.”

“You are  really bad at your job, amigo,” mumbled Castille, as the Teutonic Order slumped sadly in his seat.

Chapter Text

“Sir, a moment of your time? We have an urgent problem that requires your attention.”

Germany looked up from a report on boosting aircraft production efficiency. “What is it?”

“It’s about the military divisions we’ve been raising in foreign countries. We’ve been unable to raise one for Lithuania. People just aren’t signing up,” said the officer.

“Did you locate the individual described in your file?” asked Germany, “I told you, once they join, others in the country will follow.”

“That’s the problem, sir. We never got a file for that country.”

“You didn’t? One moment please,” Germany picked up his telephone and dialed a secret number.

Hello, Herr Deutschland,” said the voice at the other end. “How may I be of assistance today?”

“I want all the information you have on Lithuania.”

Okay, let’s see…” Germany could hear whoever he was speaking to rustling through a large filing cabinet. “ L… L... L! Lat, Lib, Liech… Well that’s certainly odd, it seems no such file exists. Rather alarming, now that I think about it. I’m going to discuss this with my superiors. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“No,” said Germany, hanging up the phone. He turned to the officer. “Please leave,” he said, “I will see what I can do.”

Germany decided his next move would be to call one of the other Baltics to see if they had any useful information. He picked up the phone again. “Operator,” he said, “connect me to the Latvian Legion.”

After a few moments, Latvia’s voice crackled through the receiver. “ Hello?”

Latvia, we’re having trouble locating Lithuania. Do you know where he might be?”

Why should I know that?”

“Well, you’re his friend, aren’t you?

Not really… Lithuania doesn’t really have any friends, not since he and Poland had that big fight. I mean, he told us he was friends with America, but I don’t believe that. But if you’re looking for him, I’d say you should ask Uncle Prussia. He and Lithuania go way, way, way, way back.”

“Thank you for your-” Germany began, “Wait, “Uncle” Prussia?”

Um, uh, no- eep!”

There was a click as Latvia hung up the phone. Germany sighed and began to dial his brother. Maybe he would have some answers.

Chapter Text

“Can’t help but notice you’re giving up. Again.” Lithuania didn’t even bother to look up from where he sat on a bench in the Vilnius railway station. His sister’s “visits” had been growing in frequency, ever since the last member of his squad went out for food and never came back.

“Perhaps,” mused Samogitia, her armor clinking as she sat down beside him, “you’re doing this because you know they’re lying about the amnesty. You don’t have the nerve to off yourself anymore, so you’re going to get Russia to do it for you.”

“I’m just tired, that’s all. Tired of fighting, tired of hiding,” said Lithuania. As usual, there was no response. He was alone.

There was a screeching of iron wheels as the train from Minsk arrived at the station, ninety minutes behind schedule. The doors on the train rolled open and thick black fog poured out, engulfing the trees of the ruined forest. The air was heavy with the sweet smell of wet blood and the setting sun painted the world amber as the Invader screamed beneath his blade Lithuania was jolted back to reality by a bone-crushing bear hug.

“Litva!” said his assailant, “It has been so long!”

“It’s good to see you too, Ivan,” said Lithuania somewhat half-heartedly.

“I came as soon as I got your letter.” Russia continued, “We were all so worried about you! Everyone will be happy once you are safe at home.”

“I’m not in trouble?” asked Lithuania hesitantly.

“What? No!” said Russia, “My new boss, he is an understanding man. I mean, you would never willingly betray your best friend Russia, would you? You were just… confused.”

“Yes, that was me. Completely confused,” said Lithuania. Despite having lived over a thousand years, Russia still didn’t understand sarcasm.

“Come,” said Russia, sitting down on the bench and patting the spot next to him. “While we wait for the train home, I will tell you about all the adventures your friend Russia has had.”  Lithuania settled down as Russia began describing his epic battle with Germany in the ruins of Stalingrad. For better or for worse, it seemed life would be returning to normal. For now, at least.

Chapter Text

 

The chunks of beef bobbed around in the large pot as Lithuania poked them with a wooden spoon. It wasn’t time to add the rice just yet, but there were plenty of other things that needed doing while he waited. He opened the oven, pulling out a tray of pirozhki and setting them on a nearby counter to cool. Since Finland didn’t live with them anymore, Lithuania was now the most competent cook in Russia’s house, and the only one Russia trusted to prepare dinner when the entire Warsaw Pact was coming over. While it was seven more people than he was used to, it was nothing he couldn’t handle.

“Hey, uh, long time, no see,” said Prussia.

If only he didn’t have to keep chasing the guests out of the kitchen. “Yes, I suppose it has been quite a while, hasn’t it?” asked Lithuania, checking the beef again. Nice and soft . He began adding the rice to the stew, before turning to the other nation. “What do you want?”

“Well, I just wanted to, um, apologize. For the war.” Prussia’s eyes were fixed on the floor, and he was rocking on the balls of his feet. This amazed Lithuania, who had long thought Gilbert Beilschmidt to be incapable of shame. “I can understand if you’re still pissed, though. I just want you to know, that, well, I’m sorry,” Prussia finished.

Lithuania sighed. “I’m not mad at you.”

This caught Prussia off guard. “What? Why?” he asked, “I’d think that you, of all people-”

“It would be hypocrisy,” Lithuania cut him off. A chime sounded on the oven; that meant the pilaf was ready. Lithuania opened the door and a warm blast of air hit his face as he stared into the roaring column of orange fire eating at the farmhouse sending a plume of black smoke into the evening sky “Hey, uh, you alright?” said Prussia. “I think your food’s burning.” Lithuania cursed and pulled the smoking dish out of the oven. Hopefully, it wasn’t ruined. “I’ll, uh, get out of your way,” said the other nation, backing quickly out of the kitchen.

“How long do you think you can keep this up?” asked Samogitia from her perch on the kitchen counter. “They’re going to find out eventually.”

Lithuania ignored her.

Chapter Text

Alright, Liet, remember what I told you about corners. Slow down, and make a left at this intersection.

Lithuania liked NATO. For the first time in his life, the nation had a large group of dependable, powerful allies promising to keep him and his fellow Baltic nations from being crushed beneath Russia’s boots.

You’re understeering again. Stay on the road.

The nations of NATO had also decided that it was important that the Baltics know how to operate a tank, which was why Lithuania was currently sitting in the driver’s seat of a Leopard 2, struggling to maintain control.

Crunch

Liet, that stop sign had a family ,” said Poland over the headset. Lithuania could hear Latvia laughing from somewhere behind him.

Lithuania had never been a big fan of tanks. Tanks were big, slow, and loud, and as a result relied on their ability to obliterate anything they came across. It was easy to see why Russia was so fond of them, but for someone like Lithuania, who preferred to remain unseen with the blade of his knife inches from his unsuspecting opponent’s neck, they just didn’t work. You couldn’t be sneaky in a tank.

Full stop,” ordered Poland. “ Estonia, the target should be on your left. Fire at will.” There was a loud thud as the Leopard’s 120mm gun fired, and a distant explosion as the shell hit its target.

Alright, Liet, full reverse. Let’s get out of here before Bulgaria finds out what we just did to his car.”

What you did to his car,” corrected Estonia. “ Because we are not going to be held accountable for this.”

“Whatever, I was doing him a favor,” said the self-appointed commander of the NATO Automotive Fashion Police, “ that car was a crime against nature. Anyways, Liet, get moving.” Lithuania’s attempt at reversing the armored vehicle ended with him backing off the road into a muddy ditch. “ Alright, that does it,” said Poland, annoyed. “ Latvia, you drive. Liet, you’re on reloading duty. Now for our next objective, we’ll need to load red paint…

Chapter Text

“Alright, you’re doing great. Now let’s try some more. Read me Section 3.”

“The Sen-ate of the Un-i-ted States shall be com-posed of two sen-a-tors from each state, chosen from the leg-is-la-ture…. uhh…” Lithuania ground to a halt. “How do you make the sound with the T and then the H?”

“Oh, you gotta put your tongue on your teeth. Like this.” America demonstrated.

“Thhhh... thhhh…” Lithuania practiced it himself. It was a pleasant sound, sort of like wind blowing through leaves, or a boiling kettle. “Thhhhank you!” he said. America laughed.

“Man, it’s gonna be great having more people speak English. Someday it’ll be the biggest language in the world and then all your friends in Europe will think you’re really cool because you actually learned a useful language while they were all learning French. You don’t speak French, do you, Tolis?”  

“Not a word,” responded Lithuania. “I am also very excited to be reading your constitution in its original language.”

“Yeah, you bet you are!” exclaimed America. “Wait. What do you mean ‘original language?’ People have translated this thing?”

“Yes, Poland and I were so interested in your ideas that we tried to write our own constitution.”

“Dude, that’s awesome!” said America. “Wait. What do you mean ‘tried?’”

“Well, we weren’t very popular, so Russia invaded us, and then he burned it.” answered Lithuania.

“Oh. That sucks. You know what, next time Russia tries to invade you, just give me a call, and I’ll send him packing back to Moscow. Now, I wanna hear more about this constitution of yours,” America held up his hand as Lithuania began to speak. “In English, please.”

Chapter Text

Hungary slashed at another low branch with her small sword, satisfied at the thud it made while hitting the forest floor. She technically wasn’t supposed to wander this far from home, least of all on her own. The priests would not be happy, but it wasn’t like she could get lost. All she had to do was head southeast until she hit the mountains, and she’d be back in her own territory. Sure, people might wonder what an 8-year old child was doing wandering unaccompanied in the wilderness, but they’d just have to keep wondering. Hungary doubted anyone would believe her if she told them her age was closer to three hundred than it was to three.

She was preparing to carve her name into a pine tree when a nearby bush shook and spat out a small boy who looked about her age. With his long, brown hair and green eyes, the other child bore an almost uncanny resemblance to herself; a notable exception being that his hair hung freely down to his shoulders while she wore hers in a ponytail. He had a small amber pendant hanging from a chain around his neck. Hungary knew instinctively that she had encountered a fellow nation.

She extended a greeting in the local language. “Hi!” she said. “I’m Hungary! Who are you?”

“Aukštaitija!” answered the boy. His response was echoed by a call from the forest.

“Aukštaitija! Where are you?” A girl who could pass for about twelve or thirteen stepped out from between the trees. She had long, blonde hair which she wore in a braid, and wore an amber pendant identical to the one the boy was wearing. “There you are!” She said. “I’ve been looking for you all afternoon; I’ve found a good place to-” She caught sight of Hungary, and her expression hardened. “Brother, what did I tell you about talking to strangers.”  

“But-“  

“No buts. Go back to camp while I handle this.” The boy disappeared back into the bushes, grumbling. The newcomer turned to Hungary, who gulped.

“Look,” said the girl. “I don’t know where you come from, or how you got here, but you need to turn around. Your kind are not welcome in this land.”  

Hungary was about to ask what “your kind” was supposed to mean, but the older girl had already vanished back into the trees.

Chapter Text

“Everyone,” said America, “I have an announcement to make.” He surveyed his employees, most of whom looked like they’d rather be anywhere else. Most of them, that is, with the exception of the new guy, Letovia, or whatever his name was, who was fixated on America like he was the most important thing in the universe. America liked Littonia. He had a great work ethic. Well, here’s hoping he stays that way after I drop this bombshell, thought America.

“Starting tomorrow,” he began, “this house is going to be alcohol-free!” There was an immediate chorus of groans intermixed with various Spanish swear words.

“Now, I know, you’re all probably unhappy about this, but this has been in the works for a long time. Now, I say we have two options. One is that we take all the alcohol in the cellar and burn it on the front lawn. I call that the ‘wet blanket’ option.”

“What’s the other option?” asked Puerto Rico.

“The other option,” America said, “Is that we drink it all tonight and put enough alcohol in our bodies so that we won’t need to drink again for a long time.”

“Mr. America,” said Lettuba, “I’m not entirely sure if that-” he was cut off by the Philippines, who clamped her hand over his mouth.

“I think it’s a great idea!” she said. Her fellow territories murmured in approval.

“That leaves just one question,” said America. “Who’s ready to get zozzled?”

Chapter Text

Lithuania stared out over the expanse of parched canyons and sandy crags as the helicopter whispered past them. Even though he had been fighting there for nearly five years now, the Afghan landscape was still as alien to him as the surface of the moon. A mechanical scream sounded in the distance, followed by an explosion.

“So, Estonia,” he said, “you tend to know a lot of things you shouldn’t. Do you know where this giant robot came from?”

“Well, apparently it used to be ours, but now, well… it isn’t,” said Estonia from the pilot’s seat.

“And we needed a giant, bipedal, nuclear warhead-launching death machine why?

“Beats me. Do you remember the plan?”

“Leap down, cut off the missile defense systems, run,” Lithuania recited.

“Good. Latvia and I will be providing cover for you,” Estonia said. Lithuania could hear Latvia giggling over his headset, which only occurred whenever the younger nation was in control of vast amounts of firepower. A stray missile flew past the aircraft, indicating that they were close to their destination. “Prepare to jump on my mark,” ordered Estonia. Lithuania readied himself at the helicopter door.

“Three.”

“Two.”

“One.”

“Mark!” Lithuania jumped out of the helicopter, the hot wind rushing past his face and through his hair. As he fell he shifted his trajectory, cancelling his appointment with the ground in favor of landing on the head of his target: a 15 meter tall metallic harbinger of destruction that looked as if had stepped out of one of Japan’s wet dreams. Currently, it was focused on ripping apart a column of T-76 tanks that had been sent to destroy it, paying no mind to the human figure clambering around on its exterior. Scrambling around to the base of the leviathan’s neck, Lithuania grabbed a handful of exposed yellow wires and tore them out.

The mechanical monstrosity screamed, and suddenly the mountains around Lithuania became a sea of orange fire, with the charred-black trunks of trees reaching out to the dusk sky, as if it could save them from drowning in the flames The machine finally managed to throw the nation off itself, and Lithuania was returned to the real world as his back slammed into the canyon floor. The robot turned, ready to crush the nation beneath a massive titanium foot.

“So, this is where you finally die…” said Samogitia, standing over him. “In the middle of nowhere, on the other side of the world..”

The behemoth raised its foot, but it was suddenly hit by a barrage of rockets and machine gun fire from Estonia’s helicopter. Lithuania could hear Latvia cackling with glee through his headset. The robot lashed out against the new threat, and the chopper darted through the air with the agility of a hummingbird to avoid the war machine’s attempts to swat it out of the sky.

You need to get moving!” said Estonia, “ This is a lot harder than it looks!”

Lithuania scrambled to his feet and broke into a sprint, his boots slapping rhythmically against the dusty rock. The robot began to lumber after him, but its progress was interrupted by an R-17 Tactical Ballistic Missile.

And then another.

And then another.

It took six missile strikes to bring the war machine to its knees, and another to turn it into a pile of scrap metal. Lithuania stumbled to a stop and sat down on a rock, panting.

You all right? ” asked Estonia.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” answered Lithuania “Just a little tired, that’s all.”

Chapter Text

Lithuania looked at the small yellow card that had fallen out of his wallet. It was a telephone number, for the bank where he had stored the money he had earned while working for America. Below, he had written his account number and other information in pen. Although over sixty years old, the ink numerals were still clearly legible.

I suppose it can’t hurt to check… Lithuania thought, as he made his way to the telephone. Surely the bank must of gone out of business, or if it hadn’t, would his account even be legitimate? He slowly dialed the number, grateful for the fact that the KGB never bothered to wiretap Russia’s house.

“Hello? I’d like to inquire about my account balance…?”

 

“Tolis Laurinaitis.”

 

“The account number? Oh, let’s see… 193-547-3743.”

 

“It’s still there? What’s the balance?”

 

“Three hundred thousand dollars… Is that a lot?”

Chapter Text

“Brüder, I need your help,” said Germany.

With what?” asked Prussia, on the other end of the line.

“Well we’ve, er, lost a country.”

What do you mean, you lost a country?”

“It means we don’t know where they are, and we don’t have a file on them.”

“And this is my problem because…”

“I’ve been told you are familiar with the missing country. Does “Lithuania” ring any bells?”

“Oh, sheesh… him? Yeah, I guess you could say I knew him.”

“Do you know why we don’t have a file on him?”

Uhhh… I’m gonna go ahead and take partial responsibility for that. I kinda, uh, burned all the information we had on him… back in, umm… 1795? Yeah, 1795.”

“You what?” yelled Germany.

“Well, it was sort of an accident. See, Austria, Russia, and I wanted Poland out of the picture, and we thought he’d die faster if we erased him from history. So we went out and burned any evidence of his existence we could find, and since he and Lithuania were inseparable back then, we wound up burning all of Lithuania’s information in the process.”

“Wait, you said you burned all of Poland’s information, yet we still have a full file on him.”

Yeah, and I’ll bet two million Reichsmarks that there isn’t a single document in there from before 1919. The only reason I can think of for you not having any information on Lithuania is that his own government didn’t know he existed.”

“Well, do you know where he might be?”

No, but I do know that he’s very good at not drawing attention to himself. Which makes him very hard to track down.”

Germany hung up the telephone and gently tapped his forehead on his desk. Of all the nations to lose, it had to be the one that was good at hiding.

Chapter Text

A lone figure trudged through the snow-smothered forest. At this time of year the days were cold and brief, and all of the earth’s creatures had either gone to sleep or fled southward, taking the life and soul of the forest with them. Today it seemed even the wind was too tired to howl its way through the shrouded trunks, leaving the gentle crunch, crunch of the figure’s snowshoes as the sole act of rebellion against the crushing winter silence. To the figure, this sound was as good as deafening.

Lithuania glanced behind him, making sure his tracks were still being covered by the falling snow. Satisfied, he turned to a nearby tree, and struck it four times with the butt of his pistol. There was a disturbance in the snow nearby as a hatch concealed in the ground opened, revealing the cheerful face of a man known only to Lithuania as Rye.

“Have you caught us supper, Hunter?” asked the man. “Hunter” reached into a sack on his back and pulled out a can of tomatoes, tossing it to his fellow partisan. “Ahh…” said Rye, “a fine feast. I assume there’s more where that came from? Do come in though, I’m sure you must be freezing.”

“I think we should be set for the next two weeks,” said Lithuania, as he climbed down into the bunker.

“Assuming that we all don’t die tomorrow,” said Rye, chuckling as he lowered the hatch back into place.

“Of course.”

Chapter Text

Lithuania was reeled in from a dreamless sleep by something tickling his nose. Assuming it was some sort of bug, he subconsciously moved his arm to swipe it away. That is, he tried to move his arm, but couldn’t. Alarmed and fully awake, he realized his nose was being tickled not by a bug, but rather by a few long strands of soot-black hair. He sneezed, waking the bed’s other occupant. It took a few frantic seconds to get their limbs untangled, but eventually Lithuania and the Philippines found themselves standing on opposite sides of the room, equally stark naked and horrified.

“Were we..?” asked Lithuania, struggling to recall exactly what had occurred last night.

“I guess?” said the Philippines. “My memory’s blank.” Lithuania crouched down and began pulling on his clothes, which were scattered on the floor beside the bed, and he heard the Philippines doing the same. Once they were both fully clothed, she motioned him to the door.

“Not a word about this leaves this room, understand? I have a reputation to maintain, and I’m sure you do as well.” Lithuania nodded sagely, opening the door to reveal Guam, who was doing her best to make it look like she hadn’t been listening in on the entire conversation.

“I didn’t hear anything!” she yelped, in a manner that made it very clear she had, in fact, heard everything.

“You wouldn’t happen to have any memory of the past twelve hours, would you?" asked Lithuania.

“Nope. Also, it’s more like the past seventy-two hours. It’s Saturday morning.”

“What?”

“Mr. America says that the only reason we aren’t all on the world’s biggest toot is because the alcohol in our bodies has reached ‘critical mass,’ whatever that means.”

“Okaaaay?” said Lithuania, confused.

“That’s dumb,” said the Philippines, who had much fewer reservations when it came to criticizing her boss. “And not a word of this to anyone, got it?”

“If it makes you feel better, you’re not the only ones to… you know,” said Guam.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you know how I kept making fun of the Virgin Islands because of her name?”

The Philippines sighed. “Who was it?”

Guam shamefully turned her gaze to the ground.

“I’m going to, uh, see what I can do about breakfast,” said Lithuania, beating a hasty retreat from the hallway.

Chapter Text

Lithuania was no stranger to hatred. Indeed, much of his early life had been defined by it: his hatred for the knights who sought to crush him in the name of their one God, his own sister’s hatred for him as she desperately fought to preserve the Old Ways- but he had never experienced hatred akin to what he felt now. He had been betrayed, no, violated, by someone who was once his greatest friend, and as a result he was homeless, jobless, and almost broke. This new hatred was so powerful that it had driven him to walk, hitchhike, and train-hop his way across four countries and 1700 kilometers to do something he had never done before:

Lithuania was going to complain.

He pushed open the doors of the large, important looking building and stalked up to the front desk. “Hello,” he said, “I’d like to speak to the League of Nations?”

The woman sitting there smiled apologetically; it was clear that she did not understand a shred of German. She gestured for him to wait, before hitting a button and speaking into a tube on her desk. Lithuania silently cursed whoever had decided that French should be the language of diplomacy.

As if summoned by Lithuania’s thoughts, France burst into the room. “Ahh, if it isn’t Poland’s little pagan friend!” he said, aggressively shaking the younger nation’s hand. “What brings you to the League of Nations, monsieur?”

“I’ve been invaded by another country, and I heard that you people could make them stop,” said Lithuania.  

“And who, exactly, is the country doing the invading?”  

“Poland.”  

“Is that so? Well, my friend, you have certainly come at the most opportune time. Come right this way,” France lead Lithuania down a grand hall. “With luck, we should have this resolved by tonight.” They approached another pair of grand doors, beyond which Lithuania could hear a pair of voices conversing in French.

Wait, he thought, is that…?  

France pushed open the doors with a flourish, “I return!” he announced to the room’s occupants.  

Poland and England glanced up from their tea. “Oh. Hi, Liet.” said Poland.  

“What are you doing here?” asked Lithuania, as he and France sat down.

“Oh, nothing much,” answered Poland. “Just hanging out. With my friends. It’s something that people with friends do.”

“Poland, Monsieur Lithuania is accusing you of invading him,” said France.

“What? I thought you chaps had that all sorted out!” said England, confused.  

“We did,” answered Poland. “I don’t know what Liet’s bitching about.”

“I’m ‘bitching’ because you broke the ceasefire.”

Still no idea what you’re talking about.”  

“Why, then, are there Polish troops marching through Vilnius?”  

“Oooohhh, that… yeah, they’re not mine, at least not anymore. Their commander, that Zeligowski guy? He’s a total renegade. He was all like, ‘we need to protect the people of Wilno!’ and we were all like ‘we can’t, we signed this lame-ass ceasefire saying we can’t cross the stupid line!’ and he was all like, ‘fine then, I’ll do it myself!’ and then he did. Like I said, the guys a total loose cannon.”

“Yet they continue to receive supplies,” countered Lithuania.

“What can I say? He’s very persuasive,” answered Poland.

“Well, if he’s gone rogue, I’m sure you’ll have no problem helping me stop him,” said Lithuania through clenched teeth.

“Hmmm… I don’t know, how about you get Russia to help you out with that? Considering you’re such great friends and all?”

“We’re here to settle a border dispute, not solve your failing marriage!” said England. "Now are you two going to reach an agreement on this issue, or should we take this before a judge?”

“All that needs to happen is that Liet needs to stop being a total bitch and realize he can’t just cut me out of his life!” asserted Poland.

Lithuania couldn’t take it anymore. “Yes I can,” he said, “I can, and I will. In fact,  I’m not going to say a single word to you until you give me back my city,” with that, he got up and stormed out of the room.

Chapter Text

In hindsight, storming out of the conference hall in a huff was a bad idea. Lithuania considered going back, apologizing, and agreeing to negotiate. However, he knew there was no turning back. Poland wants me to come crawling back to him, begging for forgiveness. That’s not going to happen.

Unfortunately, Lithuania was now, for lack of a better word, fucked. He was stranded in a city which spoke a language he didn’t understand, and what little money he had was almost gone.  His new government, formed from scratch, had no way of knowing about his existence. To them he was just a very patriotic teenager.

He was contemplating on whether the park bench he was sitting on was comfortable enough for sleeping on when another nation sat down beside him. The newcomer attempted to address him in English, French, and Spanish, before finally reaching Dutch. It was a language Lithuania had learned when he and Poland took fishing trips out into the Baltic and sold their catch in the Amsterdam markets.

“So, who are you?” asked the other nation.

“Lithuania.”

“That’s cool. Wanna come work for me?”

Lithuania was caught off guard. “What?”

“Look, dude, I just need a butler. But not just any butler, I need one of those butlers who secretly knows how to kick ass and stuff. All the rich people back home have got ‘em. Also, I’m not gonna lie, I just need another dude around the house.”

If Lithuania hadn’t been nearly as desperate, he would have approached this opportunity with more caution. What the hell, he thought, I’m already at rock bottom. “I… might have the skills you are looking for,” said Lithuania. “What’s in it for me?”

“Well, you get to have the honor of being best friends with the greatest country in the world. Also, I’ll be paying you, ‘cause if I didn’t that’d make me a commie.”

“I’m in,” said Lithuania.

“Cool!” said the other nation, as he leapt up and began dragging Lithuania after him down the street. “Let’s go back to my place. It will blow your freaking mind, I guarantee it.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Lithuania stared out across the infinite sea with his spyglass, searching for some sign of land, or at least another boat. The endless waters had grown steadily calmer until they became a flat mirror reflecting the cloudless sky overhead, and their small fishing boat now seemed to be floating in midair.

“See anything?” asked Poland, who was busy dragging their net out of the water.

“No,” said Lithuania. “In fact, I think we’re even more lost than before. I don’t think the ocean is supposed to be still like this. Have we caught anything yet?”

“Nope. Just more snakes.” Poland dumped the slithery reptiles back overboard. “You know what, we should’ve brought your cousin with us.”

“I fail to see how Latgale would help in this situation. However, at least he’d admit he had no clue how to read a nautical map before steering us into… wherever we are.”

“Not him, your other cousin. The one who used to be, like, a pirate or something.”

“Poland, Curonia has difficulty remembering his own name these days. I don’t think he’d make a very good navigator.”

The two nations fell silent. Lithuania continued searching the horizon while Poland reexamined his charts. “Wait,” said the older nation, “I think I’ve figured out where we are.”

“Really? How?” asked Lithuania.

“Well, I’m gonna assume we’re in this dark blob labeled ‘ Here Be Monsters.’  Now all we have to do is wait for the sun to set so we can figure out which way north is, and then we can row our way out of here!”

“Wait, what did you say about monsters?” asked Lithuania. The previously calm water suddenly erupted, and a large snake with a body as thick as a man’s leg landed on the deck of the boat. It hissed and lunged at Lithuania, its fangs aiming to carve themselves a slice of his face. However, the only thing the snake wound up eating was a shot from Poland’s pistol.

“Thanks,” said Lithuania. “You know, I always thought sea monsters were supposed to be bigger…”

The water came alive again, and dozens of snakes just as large as the first began raining down on the boat. The two nations drew their sabers.

“Liet,” said Poland, “for a guy who’s so quiet, you really don’t know when to keep your mouth shut.”

Chapter Text

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

The small child looked up from where he had been hacking at the wooden palisade with a tiny sword.

“What’s hell?” he asked.

“Oh, for the love of-” said Pskov, angrily, “You’re one of Balta’s children, aren’t you.”

“I don’t know, maybe? “ said the child. “We just call her ‘mom.’ Or at least we used to, but she’s been gone for a while now. She made me this amulet,” The tiny tribe pointed at a tiny speck of orange on its chest. “It’s cool, right? Or can you not see it from up there?”

“I don’t want to see your pagan talisman,” answered Pskov, “I want to know why you’re ruining my perfectly good wall.”

“OOOOhhhh, that. I’m pillaging you!” The boy gave a smile that would have melted Pskov’s frozen heart, had it been someone else’s fortifications being defiled. Then the child resumed his vicious attack on the log.

“You do realize you aren’t breaking through there anytime soon, right?” said Pskov.

“So? It’s not like I have any other way of getting in. The guards wouldn’t let me through the gate, and there’s nowhere to climb over.”

“You know what, kid? Go crazy. There are sixty armed men on the other side of this wall, so it’s not like It matters whether or not you break through. I’m gonna go take a nap.” Pskov turned to leave, but stopped when a loud horn sounded from beyond the tree line.

“What the hell is that?”

“Oh!” said the child. “That’s my people. They’re also here to pillage you! Also, you still haven’t told me what hell is yet.”

“Why you little-”

“Uh, actually, I hafta go now. My sister doesn’t like it when I talk to strangers. Bye!’

Pskov watched the small child scramble back into the forest as the battle cry of a hundred pagan warriors filled the air.

Chapter Text

“Well, well, well…” said the mob boss, munching on a cigar, “If it isn’t Alfred F. Jones, private investigator, and his faithful sidekick, erm…” he turned to the smaller of the two men being held at gunpoint. “Y’know, we never did get your name…”

“It’s-”

“Not really important, since both of youse are gonna be swimming with the fishes very shortly. Now march!” The gangsters herded their captives onto the deck of the smuggling barge, where a large pile of cinder blocks lay waiting. As the criminals began tying the heavy blocks around the ankles of America and his partner, their kingpin launched into another monolouge. “See, Jones, you shoulda listened when your momma told you not to play with fire… blah, blah, blah, nobody fucks with me, blah…” America quickly lost interest.

What are we going to do?” whispered Latvania.

Well, this is usually when the loyal sidekick comes in to save the hero,” replied America.

I just did that thirty minutes ago, and it’s Maria’s day off.”

“I guess we’ll have to let them throw us in the river, then. I mean, we won’t drown for at least a few hours. That’s plenty of time to get ourselves free.”

“It’s not the drowning part I’m worried about,” said Libana, staring out into the filthy black waters of the East River below them. Suddenly, gunshots rang out from the other end of the barge.

“Who’s the dead man that dares to interrupt me when I’m monologuing?” shouted the boss. “Go on, boys! Ice that sonovabitch,” his entourage ran off, along with most of the guns that had been aimed at the two amateur detectives. However, the boss’ own piece was still firmly trained between America’s eyes. “Now, where were we…”

“You were telling us about all the other gummy shoes you’ve frozen,” said Littovia. America would’ve facepalmed had his hands not been in the air.

“Is he stupid or somethin?” asked the mobster.

“He’s just kinda… literal minded,” said America. “We’re working on it.” Suddenly, a dark shadow stepped out from behind the barge’s boathouse.

“Drop your weapon or I put one in the back of your skull!” shouted a feminine voice. The boss’ pistol clattered to the deck. Belgium stooped to pick it up. “Thank you,” she said, “now that I have an actual gun, would you mind keeping your hands in the air.”

“Hey!” shouted America angrily, lowering his own hands,  “This was our case! You can’t just butt in like that!”

“Alfred, this man is part of a massive diamond smuggling ring that I’ve been tracking across half the world. If anything, you two are butting in on my case.”

“But-”

“We appreciate your assistance,” interrupted Latabia.

“The pleasure is all mine. Now if you would please get that rope from around your ankles so we can tie this man up?”

Chapter Text

 

The boy was drinking from the brook in the shade of a birch tree, just as the priest had foretold. The young man knelt down on the opposite bank, as if to fill his own waterskin; he didn’t want to startle the child.

“Hello, little one,” he said softly. “Do you know who I am?”

“Hi!” said the child. “And, um, no. Sorry.”

“Very well. Do you know who you are? Or rather, what you are?”

“Uhhhhh…..”

The man sighed. “You are different from other children, are you not?”

“Yeah…” said the boy, “Yeah, I guess so…”

“Tell me how.”

“Well, I don’t grow old, I don’t get hurt too much when an animal bites me or I fall out of a tree, and everyone seems to be connected to me somehow, like I’m happy when they’re happy and I’m sad when they’re sad.” the boy paused. “Wait, am I a god?”

The man chuckled. “I’m afraid you are no god, my child. You are their gift.”

“Their… gift?”

“Have you ever wondered, child, why men are above all the creatures of the world? It is because of you. You allow us to dance, to sing, to tell stories to one another. Without you and your kin, man would be but another beast.”

“I… I don’t understand…” said the boy.

“Think of it this way,” said the man, “You are a box. Inside you, you contain every story our people have told, every song, even our very tongue. If not for you, we would have nowhere to put these things, and they would be lost.”

“Oh,” said the child. “Wait, who are you? And why are you telling me all this?”

“My name is Mindaugas, and I am here because the gods sent me a vision. Our destinies are intertwined, little one. Join me, and you will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”  Mindaugas struggled to keep his anxiety from showing. He could only truly rest once he had Aukštaitija safely behind the walls of his castle; there was no guarantee that he was the only duke to have received a vision last night.

“I don’t know…” said Aukštaitija, “My sister would be very cross with me…”

“If you come with me, you’ll rise above her. She’ll never boss you around again.”

This was enough to convince the child, and he hopped across the stream towards his destiny.

Chapter Text

It was a nice day, so Lithuania had decided to spend the morning pruning the hedges that surrounded Russia’s property. It was relaxing work, and helped him forget that he was, at the moment, living under an oppressive communist dictatorship. Suddenly, the a section of the hedge to his right shook, and emitted a strange tinkling sound. Lithuania could hear someone muttering “ Bugger!” under their breath.

Hey, you! Small country! ” said a voice from the hedge, in extremely poor Russian.

“Yes?” asked Lithuania.

I am comrade Henry, the Magic Talking Hedge! I can grant you a wish, but only if you answer the special question.”

“And what would your question be, O Magic One?” asked Lithuania, rolling his eyes.

How many nuclear bombs does Ivan have?

“Give me three minutes,” said Lithuania. He quickly re-entered the house and hurried up to his room. He pulled out a large folder from beneath a loose floorboard and hurried back to the hedge.

“Here’s a list of all our silo locations, as well as classified information regarding the development of a new submarine and a road-mobile ballistic missile.” He said, thrusting the sheaf of papers into the hedge. There was a rustling noise as the unseen entity flipped through the documents.

I just wanted to know how many warheads there were, you didn’t have to hand me your whole bloody nuclear program!”

“I’m not exactly what you would call a ‘patriot,’” said Lithuania, in English.

Oh. Well, thanks, I guess. You still want that wish?”

Lithuania thought for a moment. “Well, it’d be nice if you could weed the vegetable garden…”

Chapter Text

It just wouldn’t stop raining.

Lithuania tripped over another fallen log as he stumbled among the trees- lost, cold, and wet. The forest which had once been his ally, his domain, had turned against him. It shifted and warped as he ran, sending him in endless circles. As the nation’s reality and nightmares blurred together, he had lost track of time, no longer able to tell if he was dreaming or awake. How long had he been lost in the woods? Days? Weeks? Years?

Thunder rumbled overhead. Every so often a tremendous gale would blow through the forest, uprooting trees and tossing them about as if they were kindling. Constant, driving rain churned the forest floor into mud, which sucked at Lithuania’s boots.

“This is all your fault, you know,” said a familiar voice. “You welcomed the storm, didn’t you… to save you from the fire… Did you seriously think it would stop once the fire was out?”

Shut UP! ” screamed Lithuania. “ How are you even here? You’re supposed to be dead !”

His sister’s cruel laughter was echoed in the howling winds.

Chapter Text

“What’s this?” asked Lithuania, looking at the piece of paper in his hand.

“I told you I’d be paying you,” said America. “What, have you never gotten paid before?”

“Well, not exactly-”

“Wait, were you a slave? Do they still have slaves in Europe? Because that’s super illegal now.”

“No, Mr. America, I wasn’t-” Lithuania stopped to think for a moment. “Actually, I don’t know. So is this some sort of banknote…?”

“No, It’s a check. Do they not have those in Lettuvo?”

“Well, I’ve never seen one before. So, how do they work?”

“You take it to the bank, and they give you the amount of money it says on it.”

“So… just like a banknote, then?”

“No, because the money will be coming from my bank account, not the bank. Also, see how I’ve written your name on that line right there?” America pointed to the line, where he had written out “Toris Laurinaitis.” Lithuania was slightly annoyed that the larger nation had managed to misspell his name again , but he wasn’t going to complain. “That means they’re only allowed to give you the money. Also, they’ll probably give it to you in banknotes, because they really don’t like parting with their gold and silver.”

“I thought the only reason people used banknotes is because they didn’t have any gold?”

“Well, welcome to America.”

Chapter Text

 

Whenever Lithuania dreamed, it was of the same forest.

When he was little, back when the old gods were still around, the forest had been alive. It was a place of magic and mystery.

After he converted to Christianity for good, however, his dreamworld began to fall silent. One by one, the gods and creatures vanished, until only he remained. Some nights, Lithuania would not visit there at all.

Lately, however, there had been signs of life. A cricket chirping, a bird singing in the distance. Lithuania wondered if this meant his people were rediscovering the old stories from the time before Russia, before Poland.

However, there was also a large plume of smoke in the sky, drifting from somewhere east. An occasional grumble of distant thunder from the west, signalling a brewing storm. Not to mention the sun, which was gradually sinking on the horizon…

Despite Lithuania’s life being undeniably the best it had been since the 17th century, the nation found himself bracing for the worst.

Chapter Text

Unlike many of the nations which surrounded him, Lithuania had a rather small immediate family. While he was by no means the loneliest country when it came to blood relatives, (Hungary didn’t seem to be related to anybody,) Lithuania’s small family was mostly due to the efforts of Gilbert and Julia Beilschmidt, also known as the Teutonic and Livonian orders. Two of his cousins had survived, however. Latgale, whom Julia had kept around out of some sort of messed-up maternal instinct, and Curonia, whom Julia had kept around for, in her words, “fun.” Lithuania didn’t know what that meant, and frankly he didn’t want to know. Latgale was alright, if a bit socially inept. Curonia, however…

There was a sharp rapping on the door. “Belarus, can you be a doll and go get that?” asked Poland from his study. From his seat in the parlor Lithuania could hear his fellow nation as she marched to the door, threw it open, and slammed it shut again. She then appeared in the entrance to the parlor.

“It’s your cousin,” she said, as the sharp rapping resumed. Lithuania made his way to the front door and opened it again, only to be smacked in the face with the butt of a cane.

“Boy!” shouted Curonia, “What are you doing out of your armor?”

“I haven’t worn armor in nearly a century and a half.”

“And what if a crusader who’s hiding in a bush jumps out and shoots you with an arrow, hmmm? What will you do then? Die! That’s what happened to your sister, you know.” Curonia sighed. “Such a lovely girl she was, too…”

Lithuania winced. “I know what happened to my sister,” he said, “I was there. Can we please not talk about that?”

“Talk about what?”

“Christ… never mind. Why are you here, anyways?”

“Hmmmm…” said Curonia, stroking his beard. “Give me a minute. Ah! I’m here to see Latvia.”

“Who?”

“Latvia. My brother.”

“You mean Latgale?”

“I suppose he should still be calling himself that, yes... “ muttered Curonia. “Yes, Latgale. I wish to take him on holiday.”

“To where?”

“The seaside, of course! Would you mind telling him to pack his things?”

“Uuuuhhh…” Lithuania weighed the options of letting the young, impressionable Latgale go on a long trip with his senile older brother.

Poland appeared behind him, munching an apple. “Hey, Cur. What’s up?”

“I was offering to take young Latgale on a trip to the seaside. With your permission, of course,” said Curonia.

“Sure.”

“Wait, what?” said Lithuania. “ Are you sure this is a good idea?”  he whispered out of the corner of his mouth.

“Liet, Latgale, like, needs some fresh sea air,” Poland took a bite out of the apple. “I swear, the kid’s wound up tighter than a clock spring. Trust me, this will do him good.”

Chapter Text

There was a knock on the door of Estonia’s little office. “Come in,” he said, casually redirecting a small portion of the profits from a recent arms deal into his own bank account with a single stroke of his pen. Lithuania slid quietly into the room, shutting the door behind him.

“We need to talk,” he said.

“What about?”

“Latvia. He has a problem.”

“And that would be…?”

“He’s becoming an alcoholic!”

Estonia sighed. “Lithuania, Latvia’s had an alcohol problem for well over a century by now.”

“What?” asked the elder nation, confused.

“You wouldn’t have noticed, because you were always arguing with Poland or sulking.”

Lithuania momentarily tensed up, shifting his eyes to the wall behind Estonia before relaxing again. Estonia couldn’t deny the war had changed his fellow nation. These days, it seemed Lithuania was constantly on edge. At least he’s not shouting at thin air anymore, Estonia thought.

“Fair point. So, what are we going to do about it?”

“Why do we need to do anything?” asked Estonia. “It’s not like he can die of alcohol poisoning, and no one’s going to let him operate any sort of motor vehicle anyway.”

“It’s because it’s just, I don’t know, wrong!” Lithuania said. “I know! We’ll have an intervention.”

“A what?” asked Estonia.

“An intervention. It’s an American thing. We grab a bunch of people and sit down with him, and try to get him to seek help.”

“And this is supposed to work?”

“I don’t know. Who can we rely on?”

“Well, there’s you, me, uh… Ukraine…” Estonia said, “Russia might be willing to help, but then again his solution to any problem is hitting it with a pipe… Georgia? She’s a decent person, we could ask her…”

Chapter Text

 

China was intrigued by Lithuania.

He was younger than most of his fellow Europeans, yet seemed to carry more wisdom than a good portion of them combined. He was a hard worker, but not insufferably so. He was a willing learner and, perhaps most importantly of all, was no stranger to humility.

In other words, he was China’s sort of person.

China deflected the younger nation’s heel with his wrist as he pressed his own assault, his blows only occasionally making contact with his opponent’s body. Lithuania’s style of fighting revolved heavily around dodging as opposed to blocking, which was a good strategy for someone who usually fought people much stronger than themselves.

However, while the smaller nation was very fast and agile, he was also rather predictable. An attempt to dodge China’s palm put his chest right in the path of China’s foot, and Lithuania was sent sprawling to the floor. There was a smattering of cheers form the small audience that had gathered in the empty ballroom as China picked up a pair of bamboo staves, tossing one to his opponent. He launched himself at Lithuania, swinging his staff, as the smaller nation raised his own to block…

Lithuania’s staff snapped in half under the force of China’s strike. However, the older nation barely had time to curse the manufacturer for supplying him with a faulty product before Lithuania was on him again, using the broken staff as a pair of makeshift batons. China quickly shifted to counter this new style, spinning his pole to deflect the blows. The crowd cheered; the fight had suddenly become a lot more interesting. China felt a smile creep across his face, and saw a similar one form on Lithuania’s.

Our souls may be old and tired, but the battle makes us young.

Chapter Text

Lithuania woke up with a start, squinting as the rising sun cast brilliant shades of amber across the forest floor. The rain seemed to have finally stopped and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. No voices screamed at him from inside his own skull, no dark fog clouded his vision. For the first time in who knows how long, Lithuania found himself able to think clear, rational thoughts.

His pendant’s chain shifted on his neck, irritating a ring where his skin had been rubbed raw. Lithuania shuddered. He had been hoping that particular episode had been part of the nightmare. His stomach churned, and Lithuania found himself thowing up onto the roots of a nearby tree. His vomit was stained with blood. Blood that wasn’t his own.

“Guess I was right about you all along~” sang a familiar voice. Lithuania looked up to see his sister standing above him, fully clad in armor.

“How are you here?” asked Lithuania, shocked. He blinked, and she was gone again, leaving him staring dumbfoundedly at thin air.

Chapter Text

“So, what happens now?” asked Lithuania, as he and Poland sat on a hill outside the city. What with all the ceremonies surrounding his lord’s coronation, this was the first time the two nations had been alone together, away from all the stuffy nobles and priests.

“I don’t know, I guess I should probably be teaching you about how to be, like, Christian or something?”

“I’m not sure if that’ll be necessary,” said Lithuania. “I mean, I already live with Polotsk and Kiev. I’ll just do whatever it is they do. It can’t be that hard.”

“Uh, actually, you can’t,” said Poland.

“Why not? They’re Christian.”

“Yeah, but they’re, like, the wrong type of Christian,” said Poland.

“What?”

“They do things differently. Like, they don’t listen to the Pope, they use a different type of bread at communion, and you have no clue what I’m talking about, do you?”

“Sorry.”

Poland sighed. “Jesus Christ…” he muttered.

“I know who that is!” said Lithuania, trying to be helpful. “He is your- I mean, our god, right?”

“What have I dragged myself into?” wondered Poland.

Chapter Text

 

Lithuania wasn’t the biggest fan of these new “World Conferences.” Mostly because he didn’t really know what to do. America refused to attend, on account of them being “full of foreigners.”

As for his other “friends,” well…

He glanced over to another end of the great hall, where Latvia, Estonia, and Finland were conversing among themselves. And with Poland.

He wondered if they ever talked about him, but then wondered why he cared.

Since talking to Poland was out of the question, and most other European countries had their own close-knit circles of friends, Lithuania found himself hanging out with Latin American nations, or more specifically, Brazil, who would talk to anyone who was willing to listen.

Would Lithuania please report to Conference Room B, please?” announced a voice over the public address system.

The message repeated itself in French, and Lithuania politely excused himself from the “conversation” and headed for the aforementioned room. He opened the door and saw England and France, sitting alongside Italy, (who looked oblivious to everything around him,) and another Asian nation whom Lithuania didn’t recognize.

What could they possibly want from me? wondered Lithuania.

“Please, take a seat, my little pagan friend,” said France. “Now, I’m sure you’re wondering-”

THEPOWEROFJESUSCHRISTCOMPELLSYOU!” screamed Italy, shoving a rosary into Lithuania’s face.

“Calm down, you bleeding moron, it’s just a nickname. He’s not actually pagan. At least, I don’t think he is,” said England, exasperatedly.

“So, you’re not going to creep into my house in the middle of the night and suck all my blood?” asked Italy.

“No,” said Lithuania, “No I won’t.”

“If we could return to the matter at hand, please,” said the Asian country, who Lithuania had determined was Japan.

“Of course,” said France. “We’ve come to ask you about the Memel territory,”

“More specifically, what the hell do you think you’re trying to pull, ” added England

Lithuania knew, of course, what the other nation was talking about. The old Lithuania would have apologized and agreed to withdraw his troops immediately, but the new Lithuania, however…

“I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t have any control over the situation,” said Lithuania. This was actually true, as Lithuania’s own government remained unaware of his existence, but the other nations didn’t need to know that.

“What do you mean?” asked Japan.

“If this is going where I think it’s going…” England began.

“Well, you know how that Rifleman’s Union is. They are some crazy dudes! Nobody could stop them,” Lithuania allowed a slight smirk to creep into his usually blank expression.

“I fail to see what your point is, Lithuania-san,” said Japan, “There is still the matter of-”

“No, he’s got us on this one,” interrupted England. “You know what, just go. You can keep the bloody port, but this is the only time you’re getting away with this sort of nonsense. Understand?”

Lithuania nodded, and hurried out of the room.

Chapter Text

Lithuania had always been great at ignoring his sister. She told him not to wander off, he ignored her. She told him not to associate himself with “that whore Polotsk.” He ignored her. She threatened to kill him for betraying the old ways and abandoning their faith, and he ignored her.

 

The problem was, it was a lot harder to ignore your sister when she was appearing at random points in the day, with no purpose other than to mock him, insult him, or just generally make him feel horrible. It was different from when he was younger, however. The air of anger and betrayal were no longer present in her demeanor, leaving only sheer, sadistic hatred. It took Lithuania several years to realize attempting to argue with her wasn’t working. In fact, the less he acknowledged her presence, the less she would appear. This had worked enough so that he rarely saw her anymore, and her voice would always drift from somewhere behind him. The flashbacks were happening less often too: They had gone from being a once-a-week thing, to maybe having one every six months or so. There were some things that could trigger a relapse- heavy smoke, the smell of fresh blood- but he had learned to avoid those. Lithuania doubted he would ever completely recover from the war, but he was doing the best he could.

Chapter Text

“Alright Lieutenant, we’re going to try a lap around the mountain. Remember what I told you about controlling your speed, and you should be fine.”

The situation was awkward for everyone involved. Not only was the young soldier who was riding shotgun in the UAZ-469 teaching his superior officer how to drive, said superior officer also appeared to be about five or six years younger than he was. This wasn’t the sort of thing people expected when they joined the Spetsnaz, but Private Mokvin Petrovich had experienced his fair share of Soviet bureaucracy not to question why he was taking orders from a nineteen-year old boy. He had initially suspected that Lieutenant Tolis Laurinaitis was some Party member’s spoiled son who had begged his daddy to let him play soldiers, but Lithuanians weren’t exactly allowed that sort of influence in the central government, let alone the military. Additionally, Laurinaitis had introduced himself to the squad by single-handedly defeating each one of them in hand-to-hand combat…

Petrovich’s train of thought was brought to a halt as the Lieutenant slammed on the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision with a farmer, who was leading a donkey across the packed dirt road. Petrovich could distinctly hear “Jesus Christ” among the many curses his superior officer was muttering under his breath. He wondered if he should complain about a religious man being in charge of his unit, but ultimately decided against it. Delusional or not, Laurinaitis was a skilled leader, and it would be a shame to see him go.

Chapter Text

Poland leapt out of his seat as he heard the knock on the door. Omigod it’s here it’s here it’s here it’s here! he thought, as he threw it open. “Do you have it?” he asked the startled man standing n the other side. The man pushed a parcel wrapped in brown paper into the nation’s hands, and had the door subsequently slammed in his face.

“Is it here?” asked Ukraine, hurrying down the stairs two at a time.

“Yes!”

Ukraine let out a childish squeal of delight. “Oooh! Openitopenitopenit!”

Poland gently peeled away the paper revealing the manuscript beneath. “Much About Nothing,” he read aloud.

“Which type is it?” asked Ukraine excitedly.

“Judging by the title? I’m guessing it’s a comedy.”

“I still don’t understand why you two are so excited over a book” said Lithuania, approaching them with a musket slung over his shoulder and Belarus following closely behind.

“Litva,” said Ukraine, “these aren’t just any books. This man is a genius.”

“Do you have any idea how much I paid for this?” asked Poland. “I had to pay a guy to get me a copy from England all the way to here, and then another guy to translate it into Polish…”

“He writes about all sorts of things!” gushed Ukraine. “Tragic romance, true love… Sometimes everyone dies in the end, and sometimes everyone gets married!”

“I’m sure it’s very interesting,” said Lithuania, making it clear that he was not interested. “If either of you need me, I’ll be outside teaching Belarus how to use a gun.”

Poland watched as the two left the house. “I don’t think Liet would know true love if it were standing right next to him,” he told Ukraine.

“I know,” she answered. “If only real life worked the same as these plays.”

Chapter Text

Lithuania and his partner sat amidst a heap of yellowish snake guts, panting from exhaustion. The sun had long since sunk below the horizon, and the cloudless sky was flooded with a sea of stars.  

“That,” said Poland, “fucking sucked.”

There was a hissing from somewhere within the pile of dead reptiles. Lithuania plunged his saber into the mound, and it stopped. “Well, at least we won’t go hungry,” he said, in an attempt to lighten the mood.

“Liet, that’s disgusting.”

The two nations sat in silence, listening as their boat creaked in the wind and the water gently sucked at its hull.

“The ocean seems to have gone back to normal, at least,” said Lithuania.

“Hold up,” said Poland, hauling himself to his feet and hurrying over to the nets.

“What are you doing?” asked Lithuania.

“Just checking,” Poland began hauling the tangled mass of rope out of the water, “You never know, we just might have- Oh, HELL YES!” Lithuania rushed over and saw Poland haul a net full of writhing, silvery cod over the side of the boat. Lithuania burst out laughing. Sure, they may have been exhausted from battle, sleep deprived, and floating in the middle of the North Sea, but dammit, they had caught some fish .

Chapter Text

Lithuania sat on top of Russia’s house, the frigid January air biting against his skin. While leaving the building itself was forbidden, the roof was fair game, and Lithuania soon found himself climbing up there whenever he wasn’t busy or lying unconscious in the basement. While it was by no means freedom, it was a way for Lithuania to remind himself that such a concept existed, and that there was a world outside the flaking plaster and cold stone of his master’s mansion.

The crackle of organized rifle fire echoed across the St. Petersburg skyline, followed by a chorus of screams. Part of Lithuania hoped that it was a sign of a battle in the streets, a revolution, perhaps. Maybe Russia has died out east, he thought, and the Japanese army is storming the gates of the Tsar’s palace. Lithuania chuckled slightly. If only. What was more likely was that the large crowd of protesters who had passed by the house several minutes ago were learning that Nicholas Romanov was not seeing any visitors today.

Chapter Text

Ukraine was slightly annoyed as she exited the conference room twenty Euros poorer. She wasn’t alone in her financial loss: very few of the girls had seen any of their predictions come to fruition, With the exception of Hungary. Seriously , Ukraine grumbled silently, how could she have guessed that China was capable of being seduced, let alone by Pakistan of all people? Just as she began to wonder if foul play was at hand, Poland grabbed her by the arm.

“Poland, what are you-” she cried.

Shhhhh!” he whispered. “ We need to talk. In private .”

He steered her into another empty conference room, locking the door behind them. “Okay, we’re good,” he said.

“Are you going to tell me why you dragged me in here?” asked Ukraine.

“It’s about Liet,” said Poland.

“What about him?” asked Ukraine. She was pretty sure she knew where the conversation was headed.

“Every time I see him, your sister has put another knife in his chest,” said Poland. “It happens so often that his frontside is beginning to look like his backside.”

Damn, thought Ukraine. “Poland, I’ve already told you that I have no control over my sister’s actions-”

“I’m not asking you to talk to Belarus, I’m asking you to talk to Liet.”

“Why?”

“Because the only reason this keeps happening is because he’s too stupid to keep his distance. And we both know that he’ll listen if you’re the one telling him to back off.”

“Well, uhhh…” Ukraine found herself backed into a (metaphorical) corner. She didn’t have a chance to figure out an escape, however, because her long pause had given Poland enough time to connect the dots.

“Oh, God. You’ve been encouraging him, haven’t you?”

Busted. “Well, yes, but-”

“You’ve actually been encouraging my best friend to try and flirt with that psycho.”  

Ukraine’s backhand sent Poland flying into the wall. “My sister is not a psycho,” she said, blinking away tears, “and if you call her that again I swear to God I will take the rustiest pitchfork I can find and shove it right up-” she sat down, and put her face in her hands. “Look, it’s my only option, okay?”

“What do you mean?” asked Poland, sitting across from her, concern replacing anger.

“I’m trying to get my sister out of this… unhealthy obsession she seems to have developed with our brother.”

“So… you’re trying to get her to fall in love with Liet again, so that she stops harassing Russia.”

“I guess so,”

“And why can’t you try this with literally anybody else?”

“Like I said, he was my only option. Everyone else is either not interested in her or too scared to try.”

“And you’re encouraging him to keep on going, no matter how many times she rejects him?”  asked Poland.

“That’s the problem,” explained Ukraine, “She hasn’t been rejecting him. She’s just ignoring him and lashing out violently.” she laughed hollowly. “Did you know,” she said, “That she’s convinced herself that Lithuania wasn’t around at all back in the old days? That it was all her? I don’t know what caused them to fall out, but if I can get her to speak to him, even if it’s to tell him she hates his guts and never wishes to see him again- that would be progress.”

Poland sighed. “You know what? If Liet had just noticed her a few centuries earlier, we wouldn’t have to deal with any of this. I’m telling you, we should’ve stepped in.”

“You’re saying we should’ve locked them in a closet together or something?”

“Hmmm… I don’t know, Liet was pretty dense back then. Maybe if they were both in a closet in their underwear...”

Ukraine couldn’t help but burst out laughing. What had begun as a serious matter quickly devolved into an extended discussion on the ways the two nations could’ve gotten their younger counterparts together. However, neither of them noticed the hidden recording device blinking away on the underside of the table...

Chapter Text

“So, this is it,” said Lithuania. “Welcome to Vilnius.”

From her seat behind him, Kiev looked around at the city that was to become her home for the foreseeable future. So this is where Polotsk has been living for the past eighty years, she thought.

While the city was certainly nothing like the powerful merchant hubs of Russia, it wasn’t the filthy collection of yurts she had been expecting. There was a proper city wall, houses made of brick and wood, and in the distance, a great castle sitting on a hill. She couldn’t help but be impressed at how this boy had managed to scratch out a place of his own in a void between the Orthodox east and the Catholic west. Come to think of it, this was probably the largest city she’d ever seen that didn’t have some sort of cathedral. I’ll have to ask Polotsk where she goes for mass, she thought, if we’re still allowed to go to mass that is.

As Lithuania maneuvered the horse through the busy streets, she noticed they were attracting a lot of attention. People were cheering and waving at him, and at her. She leaned forward.

“Why is everyone looking at us?” she asked her new master.

“Well, it’s not every day that I bring another nation home,” he said. “It’s exciting for them.”

“Wait, they know who we are?” she asked.

“Why wouldn’t they?” asked Lithuania.

Chapter Text

Sometimes, when the nights were warm, and the skies were clear, Lithuania would sleep on the roof. It was a welcome relief from having to share a bed with his cousin and Estonia, and frankly Lithuania could sleep just about anywhere. Sure, he might occasionally wake up after rolling off into the back garden, or with some pigeons pecking at his forehead, but it was worth it.

The near-full moon smiled down on him as he lay on the roof of his prison. Even though Menuo had long since faded away, as all the old gods had, Lithuania still felt a strange attraction to the silvery disc. It stirred something inside him, memories of the coo night wind rushing through his hair as he and his sister pursued a deer through the darkened trees, beneath the a sky blanketed with stars.

Estonia often described to him stories he had read, about men who built flying ships and traveled to the sun and moon, and found all manner of strange creatures. While those stories were just fantasy, Lithuania couldn’t help but wonder: What if there were creatures living on the moon? Would they have a god of Earth? However, Lithuania quickly dismissed these thoughts. The moon was a part of nature, just like the Sun and the sea and the sky. Surely people couldn’t live there.

Right?

Chapter Text

Lithuania knelt before his king’s throne. “You wished to see me, my lord?” he asked.

“That is correct,” said Mindaugas. While it had been nearly thirty years since the two had first met, the nation had barely aged a tenth of that amount. Humans, however, were not blessed with such longevity, and the mighty king was beginning to wither away. “Lietuva, do you know what this means?” he asked, pointing to the crown on his head.

“It means that you are King, ruler of all Lithuanians by Grace of God,” the nation recited.

“Incorrect,” said Mindaugas, laughing sourly and throwing the crown to the floor. “That trinket is worth no more than the metal it was made with.”

“But my lord-”

“Listen to me, my child. Do you remember why we allowed the Christians to induct us into their Church?”

“It was for peace, my lord.”

“Precisely. However, your sister is still out there, fighting for the gods, and she is winning . Many of your relatives have already pledged to break free from their chains, to drive the Christians out of their lands once and for all. Thus, I ask you this: Is now the time for piece?”

Lithuania thought about it. “No,” he answered.

“Then why should we carry on worshiping the false god of the Church?”

“To be honest, my lord, I, uh, haven’t really been doing that,” admitted Lithuania.

“You haven’t?” asked the king curiously.

“Well, they never really told me what I was supposed to do. They gave me this cross-shaped talisman, but I haven’t been wearing it because I already have my own talisman, and they also gave me a book, but they never told me what all the runes inside it meant,”

Mindaugas laughed. “Well, you can stop pretending then,” he said.

“Thank you, my lord.”

 

Chapter Text

Poland had never been more excited in his life. Until now, the furthest he had ever been from home was Bulgaria, and that hadn’t exactly been the most fun of experiences. Suddenly, one royal election later, he was riding in a grand procession through the streets of Paris. Paris.

His new partner hadn’t been any more traveled, and was staring out the window with an almost child-like fascination.

“So,” asked Poland, “what do you think of the shining center of western civilization?”

“I’m not sure,” said Lithuania. “Everything seems… I don’t know, what’s the word?”

“Totally fabulous?” suggested Poland.

“No, that isn’t it… Ah, yes, I remember the word now: ‘fake.’”

What?”

“The people, they are like statues and paintings. Very pretty, but no substance.”

“You are no fun sometimes, you know that?”

“I have been told that, yes."

 

Chapter Text

“-and so, the royal heir is going to be staying with us, and it’s going to be our job to prepare him for the throne-” Lithuania was interrupted by a sudden pounding at the door.

“I’ll get it,” said Polotsk, leaving the dinner table and disappearing into the main hall. Lithuania and Kiev listened as she opened the door and slammed it shut almost immediately.

“Was it a salesman?” asked Kiev, as her sister stalked back into the room.

“No, just an albino jackass.”

“Which one?”

“The annoying one,” answered Polotsk, as the hammering on the door resumed.

“I’ll go see what he wants... “ said Lithuania resignedly.

“Maybe if we ignore him for long enough, he’ll go away,” suggested Polotsk as Lithuania headed for the door. He pulled it open, revealing a very impatient Teutonic Order standing on his doorstep.

“Jesus, finally!” said the crusader. “I was beginning to think you people weren’t home. That would’ve been lame.”

“What could you possibly want?”

“I want you… to go fuck yourself!” said Gilbert.

“What?”

“You heard me! I want you to go fuck yourself!” repeated the knight.

“You rode all the way from Marienburg just to tell me to go fuck myself?”

“Yup! As my arch-nemesis, you have the honor of hearing the awesome Prussia’s first swear word!”

“Wait, awesome Prussia?” asked Lithuania in a mixture of shock and anger.

“Yup!” said Prussia, “I’m secular now! Now I can drink all I want, swear all I want, have sex all I want-” he paused, as if coming to a realization. “Can I have sex with you?”

“Not only have you murdered a large portion of family,” said Lithuania softly, “but you have stolen one of their names to use as your own. Why the hell would I want to have sex with you?

“Good point,” said Prussia. “Oooh! I know! I’m gonna ask Hungary. But first I gotta go visit my sister. Man, she’s gonna be soooo jealous…” The now ex-crusader turned from the doorstep and scampered back to his horse. “See ya later!” he shouted. “Also, fuck you!”

Lithuania watched as the horse and it’s rider disappeared into the distance, his fists clenched with barely suppressed fury.

Chapter Text

Kiev watched as Lithuania slowly walked back into the room and sat back down with his head in his hands. “I keep telling you,” said Polotsk, placing a hand on his shoulder, “every time you talk to that shithead, he finds a new way to hurt you. You need to just ignore him,”

“I know,” said Lithuania, “but…”

Kiev had never expected to feel pity for a conquering power, but then again, Lithuania wasn’t your average conquering power. Kiev was pretty sure one of the first rules for being a conquering power was to make other people adopt your culture, not the other way around. Lithuania, however, seemed to make a habit of breaking rules, and thus here Kiev was, having lived in Vilnius for well over a century now yet still not knowing a single word of Lithuanian.

She watched from across the table as her little sister comforted their “overlord.” Although Polotsk was several centuries older than Lithuania, the two were about the same age physically, and the way she fussed over him was almost… cute, as if Lithuania was merely another one of their many siblings rather than a foreign conqueror. Considering Polotsk had been living with him for more than half his life at this point, and that his real sister had tried to kill him on multiple occasions…

Kiev supposed another little brother wouldn’t hurt.

Chapter Text

 

Lithuania couldn’t believe it had already been ten years.

Ten years since he had left Moscow for the last time.

Ten years since he had become his own person.

Lithuania could say that these ten years had been the best of his entire life. No longer was he bound to the whims of a monarch or dictator, and unlike the interwar period, he had a democratic government which was aware of his existence. Sure, many in the west still saw him as another Eastern European shithole, and it would take a lot of work convincing them otherwise. Not that Lithuania had any problem with that.

There were people celebrating outside, and someone was shooting off fireworks. Lithuania grabbed a beer from his refrigerator and watched as red, yellow, and green embers danced across the night sky, in hope that this freedom would last forever more.

Chapter Text

Lithuania surveyed the warehouse from across the street. It had been forty-five minutes since America had entered the dark structure, meaning that it was time for Lithuania to step in. Walking in the front entrance like his boss had done would be foolish, he presumed, so the nation instead opted to step into an adjacent alleyway. The decaying brickwork of the old building provided numerous handholds, allowing Lithuania to scale the building with ease.

He crept across the tar-painted roof with the same stealth he had used for stalking deer seven hundred years ago, towards a narrow skylight rendered useless by several years worth of grime.

It opened, however, which meant it was still suitable for Lithuania’s purposes. Taking care to remain silent, he slithered through the gap and quickly latched onto the rafters inside the building. Voices could be heard drifting up from the warehouse floor.

“Gumshoe, I don’t think anyone’s coming to your rescue,” said one.

“You don’t know that! I bet you any second he’s gonna be kicking in that door with guns blazing.” That was America.

“You know what, Jones? I’m thinkin’ you never had any backup, and that yous is just tryin’ to be all psychologic with us, makin’ us nervous and stuff,” said another voice.

“What?”

From where he clung to the ceiling beams like a spider, Lithuania could see a trio of mobsters standing around America, who was tied to a chair. One of them was carrying a tommy gun.

“I bet he’s chickened out,” said the gangster with the gun.

“Why would he do that?” asked America.

“I don’t know. Maybe he’s smarter than you!” The three thugs burst into a fit of laughter.

“Good one, Tony!” said the first mobster.

Lithuania dropped from the ceiling, landing on top of the man with the submachine gun and smashing his head into the concrete floor. He used the resulting confusion to tackle another of the criminal trio to the ground and began strangling him with his own necktie. Suddenly, he felt cold metal pressing against his forehead.

“End of the line, asshole,” said the third and final mobster. Suddenly, there was a deafening clatter, as if someone was taking a dictation using the world’s largest typewriter. The criminal holding the revolver to Lithuania’s head fell to the ground, dead.

“Holy crap!” said America, lowering the submachine gun. “That was awesome!”

“Wait, how did you get free?” asked Lithuania, getting to his feet. The criminal he had been attempting to kill gasped and began retching onto the warehouse floor.

“Oh, I could’ve gotten free anytime I wanted,” said his boss. “Except, you know, the guy had a gun, and I was kinda hoping you’d bust in guns blazing. Your way was still really cool though. Like one of those kung-fu ninja warriors they have in Japan! Now come on, we’ve gotta hurry, or else we’re gonna miss the boat.” America rushed off towards the back of the warehouse.

“Boat? What boat?” asked Lithuania, running to keep up with his boss.

Chapter Text

Belarus glanced up from her phone as the elevator door slid open and Lithuania stepped inside. Or rather, the thing pretending to be Lithuania stepped inside.

It was because Belarus had known the real Lithuania better than anyone else, up to and including his own sister, that this thing wasn’t able to fool her. However, it had managed to fool everyone else, even her big brother, and as such they all thought she was crazy. Without saying a word she drew her knife and drove it into the creature’s chest as she always did when they crossed paths. She liked to remind it that even though it had tricked half the world, she still knew the truth. Belarus moved to leave the elevator; she’d take the stairs the rest of the way down.

The elevator door abruptly closed in her face. What?

She began frantically hammering the emergency button, praying silently for the doors to open again. She really didn’t want to spend any amount of time in an enclosed space with the Lithuania-thing. Instead of the doors opening, however, the entire elevator was plunged into darkness.

A gentle hum signaled the activation of emergency lights, and the small space was illuminated once more with an eerie red glow.

“So,” said the Lithuania-thing, supporting itself against the wall with one hand, “How has your day been?”

It planned this, thought Belarus. It knows that I’m the only one who can see through it’s disguise so it’s trapped me here and now it’s going to kill me…

“Are you all right?” asked the Lithuania-thing. Her fear must have been showing, because it stepped towards her.

... not unless I kill it first! Belarus concluded, pulling her blade out of the thing’s chest and swiping at its throat. The thing must have sensed it was in danger, because it ducked out of the way. The knife ended up punching a hole in the elevator’s control panel, sending sparks and plumes of acrid smoke into the air. She yanked it free, and prepared another swing…

Suddenly she was on her back, the thing straddling her. It had produced a knife of its own, and was bringing it down on her throat. She dropped her own knife and grabbed at the Lithuania-thing’s wrist, the tip of its blade just managing to graze her neck. She locked eyes with the thing, and her gaze was met with one of… fear?

The normal lights flickered back on, and the elevator door slid open. A flash of recognition crossed the Lithuania-thing’s face.

“Oh my god…” it said, dropping its knife. The weapon clattered to the floor, nicking Belarus’s chin. “I-I-didn’t mean to-,” it stuttered. Belarus released her grip on its wrists, and the thing backed into the hallway while clutching its stomach. “I’m sorry!” It wailed, before turning and fleeing down the hallway.

Chapter Text

Lithuania panted as he lay on the packed dirt road, every inch of his body screaming in pain. Getting a horse shot out from under you, after all, was not a pleasant experience. He started crawling towards a thick grove of trees to his left. He turned his head and saw Poland a few yards away, attempting the same thing. Good, he thought. Trees meant a place to hide, recover, regroup. Only a few more feet…

His progress was brought to a halt by a pair of black boots.

Oh, crap.

He looked up. “Hey, Russia…” he said, slowly.

“Hello, cousin Litva!” said the massive man standing over him. “I see you are on the ground! That means I win again, da ?”

“Well… I’m afraid we don’t really have anything left to give you,” said Lithuania, “and you don’t have anyone you need to ‘rescue,’ so I guess you’ll just have to let us go… “

“No-one to rescue?” asked Russia, “cousin, I have come to rescue you!”

What?” said both Poland and Lithuania simultaneously.

“I told you we could be friends when I was stronger, and now I am strong enough! Now I can save you from Poland-”

“Hey!” shouted the aforementioned nation.

“-and I can take you back to my house, and we can be best friends forever and ever…” Lithuania grunted as Russia effortlessly picked him up and slung him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “I know my little sister has missed you very much,” the larger nation said. “She will be so happy to see you again!”

“Hey, stop! Give him back, asshole!” shouted Poland, his shouts growing fainter as Lithuania and his new master drew further and further away.

This is like, totally illegal! You can’t just conquer Liet like that! You’re not getting away with this…

Chapter Text

The forest was burning.

Furious plumes of scarlet rose from the ground, licking at ancient trunks. Bark and wood wilted, shriveled, and crumbled into ash. Every few minutes, another of the giants would fall, with a hideous crack and an explosion of sparks. Lithuania choked on air that had turned sour. There was nowhere to hide, for the fire was everywhere, banishing all shadows before its glowing amber curtain.

In the distance the storm was still grumbling, barely audible over the roar of the inferno.

Lithuania gave out a desperate prayer, to whatever God or gods were still listening, that the rain would douse the flames.

Chapter Text

“...and that’s how I singlehandedly saved the city of Antioch from the hordes of Saladin,” finished the Teutonic Order.

“Woooow…” breathed Latgale. “You never told me you’d been to the Holy Land!”

Been to the Holy Land?” said the Order incredulously, “Kid, I was born there!”

“Cool… can I go there someday?” asked the younger nation.

“You’re gonna have to ask your mother,”

“Ummm… yeah,” said Latgale. “About that…”

The caped crusader sighed. “Alright, kid, spit it out.”

“Well, um, I was talking to Estonia, and, uh, he said that Mom isn’t actually my mom,” stammered Latgale, nervously shuffling on his feet. “But that’s not true, right?”

Well, might as well get this over with now. “Of course it’s true!” said the Order.

“W-What?”

“I mean it. Think for a second. Do you look anything like your mother, or me for that matter?”

“N-no. But if Mom isn’t my mom, then who is?”

“I don’t know. I think your brother does though.”

“He can’t even remember what day it is.”

“Well, then,” said the Order, “That leaves just two other people who might know.”

“Who?” asked Latgale, “Who are they?”

“Your evil cousins.”

“I have evil cousins?”

“Well, they’re more like evil half-siblings, I guess, but that’s all just semantics. See, they live in the deep, dark, forests down south…”

Chapter Text

 

“Stop here,” ordered Estonia. Lithuania obliged, putting the jeep into park. They had driven out to the middle of a remote village in the mountains, several hours from the nearest military installation.

“Just finish whatever business you have here quickly,” he told his fellow nation, “We’re deep in mujahideen territory right now, and I’d rather not stick around.”

“Lithuania, relax,” reassured Estonia, “we both know you could take anything those bandits threw at you.”

“Yes, but this car can’t. Unless, of course, you want to walk all the way back to Kabul.”

“Good point,” said Estonia, hopping out of the vehicle with a large black suitcase. “Keep the engine running.” He disappeared into a nearby shack, exiting a few minutes later carrying a different suitcase.

“Okay,” he said, hopping back into the car. “Let’s get out of here,” Lithuania began gradually maneuvering the vehicle back down the dirt road. Estonia opened his new suitcase, revealing a large pile of silver ingots.

“Son of a bitch, I told him to pay in U.S dollars…” he cursed. “It’s gonna take me ages to launder all of this.”

“Dare I ask what you were selling?” asked Lithuania, “Drugs? Guns? A nuke? Please tell me you didn’t just sell someone a nuke.”

“Nope,” said Estonia, pulling something out of his jacket. Lithuania brought the car to a stop as he examined Estonia’s “goods.”

“You were selling Japanese comic books?” said Lithuania, incredulously.

“Not just any comic books…” said the other nation, flipping it open.

“...that’s disgusting. People are paying you for these?”

“They certainly don’t pay me to judge.”

Chapter Text

Lithuania was fully aware that the things which happened in Estonia’s office, be it the tiny space under the stairs back at Russia’s house or his room in their Kabul headquarters, were of dubious legality. He didn’t know exactly what sort of schemes Estonia had cooking at any given time, and didn’t really want to find out. However, he had never heard of numbers making someone laugh before. He stuck his head in the door. “What’s so funny?” he asked.

“Just come look at this,” Estonia invited Lithuania over to his desk, and showed him a page full of numbers.

“Uhhh…”

“The red number on the bottom, read it out loud for me,” said Estonia.

“Two billion rubles.”

“Hahahaha!” Estonia laughed again, slamming his fist onto his desk, “I swear it’s more hilarious every time I hear it.”

“Is this some sort of accounting joke that I don’t understand?” asked Lithuania, confused.

“The joke is that we’re fucked. That two billion rubles? That’s how much money we’ve spent on the war this past year,” Estonia explained. “That’s five times our normal annual expenditures.”

“I still don’t get it.”

Estonia sighed. “You never do, do you? Look, my point is, if we keep this up, we’re going to run out of money. If we run out of money, we have to pull out of Afghanistan. And if we pull out of Afghanistan, the people of the Soviet Union are going to wonder why their “invincible” army was defeated by a bunch of peasants.”

Now Lithuania got it. He chuckled. “So what you’re saying we need to do is crash more helicopters.”

“Precisely.”

Chapter Text

Russia wasn’t a bad person. He just lived in a world different from everybody else’s. It was a world where everyone secretly wanted to be his best friend, (well, mostly everyone,) and where any problem could be solved via extensive percussive maintenance.

In other words, he wasn’t mean, just an idiot. At least, that’s what Lithuania thought. Poland was convinced that Russia’s “stupidity” was merely a ruse to conceal genuine malicious intent. Either way, it was really, really hard to get mad at Russia. Lithuania would yell, and then Russia would be making that face, the one that made him look like a puppy who had just gotten kicked. Next thing he knew, Lithuania would be the one apologizing, even if it was him lying on the cellar floor with three cracked ribs.

“Litva!” someone shouted over a megaphone from outside the parliament hall. “Where are you?”

Lithuania braced his nerves and walked outside.

He couldn’t afford to pity Russia any longer.

Chapter Text

“Litva!” called the voice, “I know you’re in there, and I’m worried about you!” Lithuania slowly ascended the makeshift ramparts on the barricade surrounding his parliament, and peeked his head over. Russia was standing in the middle of the street, bullhorn in hand. A BMP was parked to his left. Lithuania’s people were eyeing the armored vehicle nervously; their defenses were theoretically able to withstand ramming from a tank, but no-one was looking to put those capabilities to the test.

“Litva!” shouted Russia, again. “I promise I won’t get mad at you!”

Idiot, thought Lithuania. He’s forgotten that we’re supposed to use code names in public. He grabbed his own megaphone off of a fellow protester.

“Ivan!” he shouted.

“Wait, you know Ivan Braginsky?” someone asked.

“I am… well, I guess I was a family friend.”

“Litva! I am so relieved you are well! Have these outlaws taken you hostage? Do you need Russia to come in to rescue you?”

“Why does he call you that?” someone else asked.

“It’s a nickname,” Lithuania lied. “No, nobody needs rescuing here!” he said.

Russia seemed to have a great difficulty comprehending this. “But, but, these people here, they are not friends of Russia! Litva, they are dangerous! Unless… I know!” he said. “You are confused again, aren’t you? Just like last time.”

“No.”

“What?” exclaimed Russia, taken aback.

“I’m not confused,” said Lithuania. “In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been any less confused.”

“But Litva,” said Russia. Tears were beginning to well up in his eyes. He was doing that face again. “I thought you were my friend…” he sniffed loudly.

“Ivan,” said Lithuania. “Remember when we were little, and you wanted to be my friend, but you said you couldn’t because you weren’t big enough? Well, now I can’t be your friend anymore, because I’m not big enough.”

At last, Russia seemed to understand, or at least realize guilt wasn’t going to work anymore. Moping, he shuffled back to his BMP and clambered inside. The tracked vehicle slowly turned and rumbled away down the street.

Lithuania felt relieved. He had done it, he had stood up and said no right to Russia’s face. To someone accustomed to letting others walk over him, this was exhilarating. So, what now? He wondered.

Well, I could certainly go for a drink.

Chapter Text

Once upon a time, there lived an ape.

She was one of the tall-apes, with long gangly legs and arms that swayed as she walked. She and her kind lived in the caves and rocks that surrounded the great valley, foraging for food by day and slipping back into their holes come nightfall.

She did not know where she was. The night-valley was very different from the day-valley; the shadows were deeper, and shapes and colors faded into one another. Through the shadows prowled the many night-beasts, their presence only signaled by a rustling of foliage before they leaped out at their unsuspecting prey.

The ape was scared. She was young, barely twenty seasons old, and was used to hearing the howl of the night-beasts from the safety of a cave. However, now they were all around her, circling, ever closer.

Her foot slammed into a thick root, and she cried out in pain as the ground reached up to strike her in the face. It continued to attack, slamming into every part of her body as the world spun. Finally the ape landed on something cool and soft. Her fingers sank into it as she pulled herself upright- it was sand, like the floor of the cave where she lived. However, this sand was cool and damp, even though it was the middle of the dry season.

In front of her, the sand descended into a hole in the world, beyond that hole the ape could see another sky, another night-sun- and another ape.

The ape raised her hand, and so did the other. She reached out to touch it, and it reached out towards her.

Her fingers did not touch those of the other ape, but rather slipped through a cold surface- water. Ripples in the pool spread out from where she touched it, distorting the world beyond. Disappointed, yet relieved, she began to scoop handfuls of water into her mouth, eyeing the other ape as it did the same. It tasted funny- not like the water from the stream back home.

Home. What was home? The cave, of course, but more than that. Home was all the caves, all the rocks on the side of the valley where her people lived. And they were “her” people, as much as the hairs on her head were hers and the teeth in her mouth were hers and the fingers on her hand were hers. She could feel them, all of them- living, breathing, dying- as if they were part of her.

Had she always felt this way? She didn’t know.

She bid farewell to the person in the pool, and curled up in the sand. Soon, she was fast asleep.

Chapter Text

Prussia’s phone buzzed in his pocket. He fished it out and hit the button to answer it. “Yo,” he said.

Prussia, I need your help,” said Hungary.

“Really…” said Prussia. This day had just gotten about ten times better. “What for?”

I fucked up,” replied Hungary.

“Oh, shit. How bad?”

Bad enough that I’m forced to call you,” Prussia winced slightly.

“Okay, what happened?”

Well, I overheard Ukraine talking to Poland about how she’s been trying to get Lithuania and Belarus together,” Hungary began, “ and I thought I might help things out a little, you know? So I decided to trap them in an elevator.

“Wow, that was stupid. How did you do it?” asked Prussia.

I have my ways… ” answered Hungary. “ Anyway, Belarus stabbed Lithuania, like normal-

“Wait,” Prussia interrupted “So, did you think Belarus was just gonna give up after one stab and then they were going to start making out?”

...Sort of?

“And let me guess, she just stabbed him again and again.”

Well, she tried to, ” said Hungary.

“Wait, what?”

She missed, and stabbed the buttons instead. She started an electrical fire or something.

Uh oh, thought Prussia. He knew by now that smoke, blood and Lithuania were not a good combination.

...So then Lithuania flips out, and suddenly it’s him trying to kill her, so I panicked and let them out of the elevator. I called Estonia, and he said Lithuania won’t come out of his hotel room.

“...and Belarus?”

I haven’t asked.

“So, I’m assuming the reason you’re calling me is because you feel guilty, but you can’t apologize without exposing yourself as a nosy voyeuristic creep who’s spent the past five world conferences manipulating others into relationships for personal and financial gain?”

W-What? ” shouted Hungary angrily.

“I know you’ve got every room in the building bugged, plus the hotel we all stay at,” Prussia continued. “I was also in the eastern bloc, you know. I know where to look for ‘em.”

But wait, if you knew about them all this time, ” said Hungary, confused, “ Then why haven’t you- Oh, right.

“As a wise man once said, ‘If you aren’t comfortable with doing something in public, you shouldn’t be doing it at all’”

No wise man has ever said that, ” groaned Hungary, “ you just have no shame.

“And you have no respect for other people’s privacy! What a cute couple we make.”

Shut up.

Chapter Text

As much as Lithuania hated being a part of the Soviet Union, he had to admit it was an improvement over the Russian Empire. Under imperial rule, he had been little more than a slave, forbidden from leaving his master’s house under any circumstances and subject to random brutal beatings to “purify” him. Under the new system, all members of Russia’s household were (theoretically) of equal status, and (supposedly) shared their duties and responsibilities. This also meant that about once a year he’d be called upon to perform some random task for the armed forces. For instance, he was currently commanding a Project-705 nuclear-powered attack submarine on a mission to hunt down an experimental ballistic missile submarine whose captain had gone rogue. You know, normal military stuff.

Lithuania had been in the submarine for three days, and had hated every second of it. He wanted to find the idiot who had assumed his hunting skills were applicable when it came to floating in a titanium coffin beneath several hundred meters of water, and strangle the bastard. Unfortunately, that bastard was probably Russia.

He clutched the amber pendant around his neck. If he tried hard enough, he could imagine he was underground instead of underwater…

An officer rushed up to him. “Captain? We have a problem.”

“What is it?”

“Just… come see for yourself.” The young man lead Lithuania over to a workstation, where another crew member handed him a pair of headphones. “This is what our exterior microphones have picked up,” said the man, as the nation slipped them on. He heard a loud, deep, moaning.

“It’s a whale,” he said.

“Sir, based on our calculations, that “whale,” is about three times the size of the sub, and is approaching us at great speed.”

Shit. “This is the fastest submarine in the world, no?” asked Lithuania. “Let’s see if we can’t outrun it.”

“Aye aye,” said the officer, scrambling to carry out the orders. However, the man sitting at the workstation, who had donned the headphones once more, was only growing paler.

“It’s- catching up to us!” he choked. “In a few seconds it’ll-”

The whole sub shook, sending Lithuania sprawling to the floor. “Status report!” he shouted

“Something’s pulling us deeper!” shouted another crewman. “We’re at two hundred meters already! If we go below a thousand, we’ll get crushed like a tin can!”

Lithuania struggled to force a solution through a mind shrouded in terror.

“Three hundred meters!”

Think, Lithuania, think!

“Four hundred meters!”

Suddenly, Lithuania had an idea. “Ping it!” he shouted to his sonar officer.

“What?”

“Five hundred meters!”

“Ping it with the sonar! As loud as you can!”

“Aye aye! Said the sonar officer, twisting some dials. “One sonar pulse, coming up!”

The monster let out a tremendous shriek, causing the entire ship to shake. “We’ve stopped sinking!” said the crewman who had been monitoring the depth.

“I-it’s retreating!” said the man with the headphones.

“Well, we did just do the underwater equivalent of blasting it with an airhorn,” said Lithuania. “Now let’s get out of here as quickly as possible. If the beast comes after us, ping it again.”

Screw it, I’m strangling Russia when I get back home, thought the nation.

Chapter Text

A, Ą  B, C… Lithuania did his best to scribble down the letters from memory. It was embarrassing really, having to teach himself how to read his own language for a second time. The door creaked open behind him, and he hurriedly flipped over the paper, revealing a half finished “diary entry” written in Russian. He turned around to see Latvia standing at the door with a lantern.

“Yes?” Lithuania asked.

“Um, I j-just noticed you’re staying up late, uh, again, and I, uh, w-was wondering if you needed anything.” Said the younger nation. “I-If you don’t I’ll just be, uh, on my way to bed.”

“I don’t need anything,” said Lithuania. Latvia seemed relieved at this, and hurried off into the dark.

“Good night!” he shouted over his shoulder.

Lithuania sighed his own breath of relief, and resumed transcribing his alphabet. Lucky bastard, he thought. Russia had decided the Latin alphabet was one of the many “poisons” Poland had used on his mind, and it’s use had become a punishable offense, at least when Poland and Lithuania used it. As far as Russia was concerned, Latvia and Estonia were not “polluted” like Lithuania and Poland were, and were thus permitted to use their languages as much as they liked. It wasn’t like anyone else in the house could speak a word of Latvian or Estonian, but still. The lack of sleep each night was beginning to take its toll, but in Lithuania’s opinion, fatigue was preferable to having his culture and identity devoured by Russia.

Chapter Text

“Liet?”

“Yeah?”

“How come you’re so, like, chill all the time?”

“What do you mean?” asked Lithuania.

“See that?” Poland gestured to across the street, where Denmark was having a drunken argument with a taxi driver. The nation had produced a massive battle axe from god knows where and was waving it around menacingly. “How come you’re never like that?”

“You’re asking why I don’t cause public disturbances?” Lithuania asked. “Is that a bad thing?”

“No, it’s just that you know, we all mess up once in a while, you know? I guess it’s just the stress of living for over a thousand years so sometimes it’s just like, ‘fuck it, I might as well have some fun.’ But you don’t really do that. Even when you’re drunk, you just like, cry, instead of breaking stuff.”

Lithuania glanced back across the street. Several police officers had arrived on the scene, and were attempting to force Denmark into the back of a police car. “Well, for starters, I’m not nearly as old as the rest of you, I guess.”

“You know, I always forget that,” said Poland. “Huh. What do you do for fun, anyway?”

“Well, I play basketball, I sometimes go out into the forest to look for mushrooms-”

“Lame.”

One of the policemen had tased Denmark, and was now loudly reading him his rights.

“Wonder what that was all about?” asked Lithuania.

“Who knows?” said Poland.

Chapter Text

Balta watched the waves as they crashed onto the store. She had taken her sandals off, and was allowing her toes to dig into the cool sand. She watched as her children dashed about in the surf, and hoped they would forever remain as happy as they were now.

All parents must someday part ways with their children, and Balta was no exception. Already she could feel the urge to move , the same urge that had caused her to leave her first set of children in the southwest and start a new life in this land almost a century ago.

Samogitia came running up the beach towards her, with little Aukštaitija not far behind.

“Mama, mama!” she said, “look!”

“Did you and your brother find the stones you wanted?” asked Balta, smiling.

“Uh-huh,” said her daughter, opening her tiny fist to reveal a small chunk of glowing amber. “What do we do now?”

“Now,” said Balta, “We shall go and visit a charm-maker.” Although Balta would soon be departing from her children’s lives, she did not wish to be forgotten. Hopefully, her children would use the amber they found today to carry her memory, and her blessing, into the future.

Chapter Text

“I don’t get it,” said Lithuania, “How do they move around in this?” There was a groan of tortured metal plating as the young nation attempted to maneuver around his house in a full suit of armor. He had been ecstatic when he found it intact after one of his many battles with the crusaders; usually, a dead knight’s armor was too damaged to salvage.

“Well for starters, they’re bigger than you,” said Polotsk, giggling from behind him. The armor didn’t allow him to move his head very well, so in order to look at his friend he had to turn all the way around on his feet. However, this took a while, and it was easy for Polotsk to merely circle around, keeping herself out of view. “Also, the idea is that you don’t need to move quickly because the enemy can’t hurt you.”

“That’s a stupid way to fight,” said Lithuania. “You’re basically placing more faith in a slab of steel than in your own skill.”

“Try touching your toes,” suggested Polotsk. Lithuania accepted the challenge, but as he bent over he felt Polotsk give his rear end a shove. He heard her laugh as he fell to the ground with a crash.

“Uhh… Polotsk?”

“Yes?” she said, still laughing.

“I, uh, can’t get up. Can you give me a hand?”

Polotsk obliged. “So,” she said, as she helped Lithuania to his feet. “I presume you won’t be wearing this into battle?”

“Oh, gods no. I fight among the trees, but I’m not about to go around pretending to be one,” answered Lithuania.

“That’s a relief. You look so much better without the armor, anyways.”

“What?”

“What?”

Chapter Text

Russia often found it difficult to talk to others. For some reason, everyone else was concerned about discovering “facts,” and “the truth.” This confused Russia, because he didn’t understand why people had such trouble with these things. It wasn’t like they were very hard to find; all facts and truth came from the party. In a similar vein, some of his fellow nations always seemed to be wondering what the “right thing to do,” was, when the answer to that question was invariably, “whatever the party requires.” Occasionally, in the early days, Russia would wake up in a cold sweat, fearing a Party member had done something wrong. He would hurry over to the Kremlin, where the men there reassured him that the Party member in question was merely a product of a nightmare, and that no-one by that name had ever existed. Russia liked it this way; under the Tsar, after all, he had been merely a slave, a piece of property for the bourgeoisie to bend to their will. Under this new system, he felt his life had purpose.

Chapter Text

 

Swoosh.

 

Swoosh.

 

The old longsword hissed through the air, punctuating the tranquil silence of the garden. Lithuania spun the weapon in his right hand, preparing to behead an imaginary foe.

“Liet, what the fuck are you doing?” It was Poland. “You’ve been out here all morning.”

“Oh, nothing much,” said Lithuania. “Just doing a little reminiscing, that’s all.” With great care, he slid his sword back into its sheath. “Remember chivalry?” he asked, “Why don’t people do that anymore?”

“Well, wars aren’t fought with warriors anymore,” said Poland, “just soldiers.”

“That’s a shame,” said Lithuania.

“Well, I don’t really have a problem with it,” said Poland, shrugging. “I like shooting guns.”

“That’s because you’re always the one doing the shooting, while I’m always the one reloading,” countered Lithuania.

“Liet, the reason I’m always the one shooting is because your aim is garbage, “ explained Poland, turning to leave. “Have fun in your little fantasy world. Oh, and try not to attack any windmills.”

Chapter Text

GERMANY (L_Bielschmidt@unpma.org)

to Albania, America, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey

RE: PANZERTHON 2018

Greetings to all,

It is my pleasure to announce the beginning of the registration period for this year's Panzerthon. However, before submitting your registration sheet, please remember the rules.

  1. All competitors are expected to procure their own tanks.
  2. Competitors are permitted a maximum of three (3) additional crew members.
  3. This is a training exercise. Any use of live ordinance is grounds for immediate disqualification.

To register for the competition, please use this link and fill in the required information. 

Good luck,

Germany

 

Salutations à tous,

Il me fait plaisir d’annoncer le début de la période d’inscription au Panzerthon de cette année. Cependant, avant de soumettre votre fiche d'inscription, veuillez vous rappeler les règles.

1. Tous les concurrents sont censés se procurer leurs propres réservoirs.
2. Les concurrents ont droit à trois (3) membres d'équipage supplémentaires.
3. Ceci est un exercice d'entraînement. Toute utilisation d'ordonnance en direct est un motif de disqualification immédiate.


Pour vous inscrire au concours, utilisez ce lien et indiquez les informations requises.

Bonne chance,

Allemagne

 

Chapter Text

 

As he grew stronger, she grew weaker.

Skrrch

It wasn’t that she was out of practice, or refusing to apply herself. It was all him. With every new land he conquered, with every new person who flocked to his cities from her lands, her brother gained more power, sapping Samogitia’s own strength

Skrrch

She had fought Aukštaitija before, when he had gone with that bastard Mindaugas and started calling himself “Lietuva.” Samogitia had lost that battle, betrayed by Julia Bielschmidt. (Who else?) She was slightly relieved that her brother’s “conversion” to Christianity had been a ruse to throw the crusaders off, but had grown concerned when he began expanding his domain beyond their homeland- taking in those whores Polotsk and Kiev. Who does he think he is, anyway? Samogitia wondered, An empire or something?

Skrrch

This time, he had gone too far. He had converted to Christianity again- for good, this time. (Or so he claimed.) His own ruler was now King of Poland- a title much more prestigious. After nearly a century and a half of resistance, her brother was surrendering to the western boot. This Samogitia could not allow.

Skrrrch

Samogitia set down the whetstone and admired her work. Her sword slid through the air as neatly as a serpent through grass.

Only one of them was going to be walking away from their next battle, and she was going to make damn sure it was her.

Chapter Text

“Latvia,” said Lithuania, “this is an intervention.”

“Huh?” asked Latvia, staring at the room before him. Nearly every member of the Soviet Union was gathered in Russia’s sitting room, looking at him expectantly. “D-did I do something wrong?”

“We’re just concerned, that’s all,” replied his cousin. “It’s about your drinking habits.”

“You are second only to the boss when it comes to consuming alcohol,” added Kazakhstan. “It is… distressing to see someone as young as you taking so heavily to the bottle.”

“That is why we, your friends and family, have gathered here today. We are hoping that together, we can help you get better.”

“Why is the amount I drink suddenly a problem?” asked Latvia. “I mean, I haven’t been drinking any more than I usually do.” Everyone in the room glanced towards Lithuania, who was now shamefully avoiding eye contact with his cousin.

“Look, I-”

“Latvia, remember when you became independent for the first time?” asked Estonia, interrupting whatever Lithuania was about to say. Latvia saw his cousin release a sigh of relief.

“Yeah…” Latvia’s government had always dealt with him at arm’s length, and it had seemed as if many of his ministers were ashamed of having to associate with him at all. He had always thought it was because they had hoped the embodiment of their land and culture would be more... physically imposing.

“Now,” asked Estonia, “do you want to go through that again?”

“A-again?” asked Latvia, stunned. “But that would mean-”

“We’re not going to be here forever,” said Lithuania, jumping back in. “We just want you to be ready when the time comes.”

Latvia’s life had been almost devoid of optimism ever since Russia had dragged him out of the Curonian forest back in ‘52, and he had accepted that he was probably going to live in Russia’s miserable house until the end of time. However, his fellow Baltic nations seemed confident that they would all get out of here someday.

Maybe there is still hope for us, mused Latvia.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll listen."

Chapter Text

“We’re going to be detectives!” shouted America, slamming his fist down on his desk.

“That’s a terrible idea,” said the Philippines.

“Shut up, it’s an awesome idea,” said her boss. “The other option is we try to be superheroes, but that won’t work, since none of us have any powers. Unless…” he turned to Lithuania. “Tory, do you have any superpowers?”

“No.”

“Darn. Ooh! If we could get our hands on some uranium…”

“How about we stick with the detective thing for now?” suggested the Philippines. Although she had only been living with America for a little over twenty years, she had already learned a lot about how to work with him. For example, it was often necessary for her to go along with a stupid idea of his, (of which there were many,) or else he might come up with an even stupider idea in its stead.

“So, how are we going to be detectives?” asked Lithuania.

“Well, I’ve already got an office rented out downtown, so the three of us need to go down there and fill it with cigarette smoke.”

“What?”

“I read about it. It’s called creating atmosphere.”

The Philippines groaned. Sometimes, there was just no escape.

Chapter Text

Well, it was fun while it lasted, thought Lithuania, as he folded the newspaper and set it on his bed. Sure, the Russians weren’t taking over the country yet, but Lithuania doubted that they would be satisfied with just a few military bases. I give it a year, tops, before Russia decides I need to become “one with him,” again.

Lithuania was still shocked at how fast the world had gone to shit. Sure, the Great Depression had been tough, as was losing his job as America’s “action butler,” but he had pulled himself through. However, now Poland was missing or dead and a second Great War had begun, only this time Germany and Russia seemed to be on the same side.

He slid a cigarette out of his jacket pocket and lit it, letting the warm air circulate through his lungs. He wondered what life would be like under Bolshevik rule.

Well, I’ll probably find out soon enough.

Chapter Text

The convoy slid its way through the narrow Afghan canyon, a green snake among the dusty rocks. From his seat in the second vehicle Lithuania watched the surrounding mountains anxiously. Any one of these cliffs could be hiding an enemy sniper, or perhaps even worse. I wonder if this is what the Russian soldiers felt like when they were fighting my partisans and I all those years ago… he wondered. I wonder how much longer we would have lasted if I had mountains like these in my territory? Or if America had been helping us as much as they help the mujahideen now? Maybe I’d still be fighting to this day…

The convoy passed through what had, until about two days ago, been a small village. All that remained today were a few bombed-out husks. Frankly, the Soviet Armed forces’ complete disregard for civilian lives made Lithuania sick. He didn’t give a damn how the war ended, he just wanted it to be over .

They were almost at the canyon’s exit when the lead truck exploded, belching a column of fire, smoke and dust. Gunfire erupted from the nearby hills, and Lithuania dove out of his vehicle and scrambled for cover, flicking off the safety on his rifle. He may not care whether the Soviets won or lost, but his people were being conscripted into their army, and he would to everything in his power to keep them alive.

Chapter Text

 

Lithuania closed his eyes, and sank into the sounds of the forest. Frogs croaked. Crickets chirped. A stream bubbled. Lithuania, however, was not interested in the noise produced by nature. Instead, the nation’s attention was drawn to a low rumble in the distance- an approaching truck. He raised his hand, and from deeper in the forest, he saw Rye do the same. The trap was set.

He slid into the water which filled the roadside ditch where he lay as the Red Army convoy moved past his position. Suddenly, the tranquility of the night was shattered by the scream of a mortar shell as it landed on the lead vehicle. The Russians leapt from their transports, barking orders at one another and firing blindly into the trees. Eventually, one of them must have figured out where the mortar fire was coming from, and a large party dashed off into the woods. Lithuania smiled, knowing that by the time they got there his fellow partisans would be long gone and their mortar would be sitting at the bottom of a lake. The convoy itself wasn’t actually carrying anything of value to the partisans; the attack was more of a reminder to the Russians, a reminder that his people still owned the forest and the night, and they would make the Soviet Union pay in blood for each day Lithuania was not a free nation.

Chapter Text

Dear sister,

 

Today marks my fiftieth year living in pagan lands, and I’m beginning to get used to it.

Lithuania is not what you expect from a heathen; he’s not some burly, drooling brute who smells like a barn and acts like an animal. He is younger than both of us, and exceptionally well-mannered; in fact, he treats me as if I were his own kin, not a conquered territory. He allows me to practice my faith, because he says that his gods are his and that my God is mine, and that it should stay that way. Many times he leaves the house for weeks to fight the Catholic crusaders, the same ones our brother triumphed against back in 1242.

While he may be a fierce warrior, Lithuania is also very much still a child- both impressionable and naive. He was also, when I met him, completely illiterate. I am working to change that, and I think he should be able to read and write without my help by this time next year. Is it a sin to teach a pagan to read? I hope not.

Lithuania’s own sister, who doesn’t live with us (thank God,) does not like me very much at all. She is convinced that I am some sort of succubus sent by the Christians to corrupt the mind of her baby brother, and has threatened to kill me multiple times. Lithuania said he’s going to show me how to stab people with knives in case I ever need to defend myself.

I hope this letter finds you in good health.



Your sister,

Polotsk.

Chapter Text

“Hey dude, I need you to- holy shit…” America stared at his best friend’s back in shock. Sure, he hadn’t really thought before barging in on his butler while the latter was still getting dressed, but he certainly hadn’t expected to see, well… this.

“Is something the matter?” asked Latavia, turning around to face him.

“Dude, your back!” exclaimed America.

“Yes, what about it?” responded his friend.

How the hell is he being so casual about it? wondered America. “You’ve got like, scars and stuff!” he elaborated.

“Oh, right,” Labania shifted nervously, “Those.”

“Toris, tell me who did this to you. I’m gonna kill him.”

“That- won’t be necessary, really…” said Lithonia, pulling a shirt over his head.

“Was it Russia? It was Russia, wasn’t it?” asked America.

“Yes,” said his friend, eyes turned downwards. “It was…”

“I knew it! I swear to God, the next time I see that red bastard I’m gonna give him a piece of my mind.”

“You d-don’t need to do that,” stammered his friend. “Sure it looks bad, but deep down he’s a nice person, I swear.”

“The mass of scar tissue that is your back would suggest otherwise!” America pointed out.

“Look, he did this because he’s an idiot, okay?” said Lithova. “He thought he was ‘curing’ me or something. There also may have been alcohol involved, but just please don’t start a fight over this.”

“Okay,” said America grudgingly, turning to leave the room. If Littania would rather him not get into a fight, then America would do his best to respect that wish. “You know, that’s what they all say.”

“Who?”

Oh, my husband only beats me because he loves me, he said so himself!” said America, in a ridiculous falsetto voice. “ Oh, it’s not his fault, it’s my fault for being a bad wife!” he paused at the door. “That’s you right now,” he said, and left the room.

Chapter Text

The people of Lithuania looked on as two nations fought over their country’s future. The opposing armies had ceased their battle, gathering in a large, loose ring around the ongoing duel. The field had fallen silent, except for the occasional clang of metal striking metal, and a cheer from one side or the other depending on who had the upper hand.

Lithuania was only marginally aware of this as he rolled to dodge his sister’s sword, following up the maneuver with a slash at her lower body from behind. Samogitia blocked his attack with a rather awkward parrying motion, and their blades slid against each other with enough force to create sparks.

Samogitia lashed out with her left foot, driving an armored boot straight into her little brother’s groin. He dropped his weapon, collapsing to the dirt in pain as Samogitia prepared to deliver the killing blow…

As his sister’s sword came down towards his skull, Lithuania leaped forwards into Samogitia’s legs, sending her to the ground as well. Within seconds, Lithuania was on top of her, his steel gauntlets pounding dent after dent into her armor. The beating ceased after about three minutes, leaving Samogitia with a bruised and bloodied face, along with several broken ribs.

“What are you waiting for?” croaked Samogitia. “Do it. Kill me already!”

“I’m not going to kill you,” answered her brother, still panting from exhaustion.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Samogitia protested, “You know just as well as I do that this land isn’t big enough for both of us. One of us must die so the other can live!”

“I’m not killing the only family I have left,” said Lithuania, standing up and making his way back towards his army.

“Well then,” spat his sister, who had also pulled herself to her feet. “It’s a pity that I don’t share that sentiment.” Drawing a knife from a sheath on her back, Samogitia launched herself at her brother, knocking him back onto the ground. This time, however, she was on top, driving the blade of her knife towards Lithuania’s throat. Lithuania managed to grab hold of his sister’s wrist just in time to stop the tip of the weapon from piercing his jugular.

“Please…” grunted Lithuania, struggling to maintain his grip. “Neither of us… has to die today.” Samogitia, however, only shook her head.

“I’m sorry,” she said, and Lithuania could swear he saw tears forming at the corners of her eyes. “This is going to hurt me much more than it will hurt you.”

Suddenly, an arrow materialized in Samogitia’s back, announcing its presence with a soft thwock. The nation gasped in pain, dropping her knife as she collapsed, sobbing, on top of her brother. From where he lay, Lithuania twisted his head and spotted the interfering archer, who had been watching from a nearby hilltop. Lithuania couldn’t make out the interloper's face, but their banner was recognizable enough- a black cross on a white field.

The crusaders had struck again, and Lithuania was now alone.

Chapter Text

The kitchen knife made a rhythmic chok-chok-chok as Polotsk slammed the blade into the gaps between her fingers. She was aware that it was a bad habit, and that neither Lithuania nor her sister would approve, but that’s why she only did it when she was alone.

The door creaked open behind her, signalling Polotsk to cease her little game and begin chopping carrots for tonight’s dinner.

“You’re back later than usual,” she told her sister, as the latter set down her basket of groceries.

“Our usual bakery on High Street closed down,” Kiev explained, “so I had to find a new one,”

“Really?” asked Polotsk. “That place was great. Why’d they close?”

“Well, the baker was Jewish, and our esteemed Grand Duke has decreed that all Jewish people need to leave the country within two weeks.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Nope.”

“Why?”

“Who knows? He’s in charge, so he can do what he wants.”

“That’s disappointing,” said Polotsk, sighing. “I really liked those bread-ring things they made. What were they called again?”

“Bagels?”

“Yeah, those.”

Chapter Text

Russia had some very odd ideas about the definition of the word “fun.” Currently, that definition entailed dragging the entire Union onto an icebreaker halfway to the North Pole. Unlike some nations, Latvia enjoyed travelling at sea- it was a place free of rules and full of potential, where someone could go anywhere and do anything. The freezing cold, however, was bordering on unbearable. He glanced back at his fellow Baltic nations. Estonia was using an 8mm camera and attempting to film a flock of seabirds, while Lithuania was having a heated shouting match with a wall. Latvia approached Estonia, deciding that it would result in a more rewarding conversation.

“So, do you think Russia’s taking us to kill Santa?” Latvia asked his friend.

“I doubt it,” answered Estonia. “Plus, Santa doesn’t actually live at the North Pole,”

“I’m aware of that, Estonia, I’m not five years old-”

“He lives in Finland.”

“What?”

“Friends!” boomed Russia, “If you will please move to the starboard side of the boat, the show is about to begin!”

What show ? wondered Latvia, as he and all the other Soviet Republics gathered around.

“Three,” announced Russia, looking at his watch, “two, one, zero!”

It was as if a new star had formed on the near horizon, bright enough to challenge even the sun. Russia was cheering, hopping up and down like a child at the circus. Lithuania had returned to his senses and was watching the nuclear spectacle with an expression of what could only be described as unadulterated terror, clutching that amulet he always wore and muttering a prayer in his native language. The fireball faded away, leaving a massive mushroom-shaped cloud stretching up into the heavens. Latvia’s first thought was: May God have mercy on us all.

His second thought was: Where can I get one of those?

Chapter Text

“So,” announced Prussia. “I bet you’re all probably wondering, ‘ why did the awesome Prussia tell us to meet him in front of this random address in the seediest neighborhood in all of Berlin?’” He turned to the three nations in front of him. “Well, allow me to answer that question with another question. How much do you know about Panzerthon?”

“It’s a NATO training exercise in which teams of four are pitted against each other in simulated armoured warfare,” recited Estonia. “However, unlike most war games, where battle takes place between opposing “teams,” Panzerthon pits every tank crew against all the others in a free-for-all.”

“Yes, yes, that’s right,” said Prussia. “What else?”

“France’s team has won the past three games in a row, and they’ve been rubbing it in everyone’s faces,” said Latvia.

“Good one! Still not quite what I’m looking for though,”

“The three of us have never participated in it, because none of us owns a tank,” said Lithuania.

“Bingo!” exclaimed Prussia.

“So why did we need to meet you in front of this old garage-” began Lithuania. “Wait,” he said, connecting the dots. “You can’t be serious.”

“Oh, but I am!” said Prussia, raising the rusty metal shutters. “Boys, allow me to introduce you to the Tiger II, the pinnacle of German armored design and the machine that is going to win us the game!”

“Uh, Prussia?” said Latvia, “Are you sure this will work? I mean, everyone else is bringing MBTs* and we’re using this ?”

“Yup! That’s how I know we’re gonna win!” exclaimed Prussia. “See, we’re the underdogs here, and everybody knows underdogs always win! Trust me, I’ve watched Air Bud like fifteen times. I know how these things work.”

“If you say so…” said Latvia. “You guys in?”

“Sure.”

"Why not?”

“Great!” said Prussia. “I knew I could count on you guys! I've already started working on crew assignments…”

Chapter Text

Belarus stood at the door of what had, until very recently, been her room. She could barely remember when she had first stepped over the threshold, still shocked that there were entire cities full of pagans in the heart of Europe. It had been what, two hundred, three hundred years ago? She didn’t know.

“Polot- I mean, Belarus!” shouted Lithuania up the stairs. “Do you want to ride in the carriage with all our stuff, or on your own horse?” Belarus recalled when she first met Lithuania, and how much he had changed since then. He had grown from a scared little boy fighting for his life against forces beyond his comprehension to the proud, elegant warrior that she knew and (perhaps) loved. I wonder where we would be today if our paths had never crossed…

“I’m not spending the entire journey to Krakow cooped up in a wooden box !” she shouted back. “So, yes, I’d like my own horse!”

“Understood!” said Lithuania. “Latgale and I will be waiting for you outside!”

Belarus took one last look at the room which was once hers before she shut the door and opened a new chapter in her life.

I wonder what Poland’s house is like?

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“Philippines?” asked Lithuania, as he rummaged around in the pantry, “How does Mr. America prefer his tea?”  

 “He doesn’t,” answered the other nation, from her seat at the kitchen table. “While you’re over there, mind passing me a light?”

 “What do you mean, ‘he doesn’t?’” asked Lithuania, tossing the Philippines a matchbook. She fished out a match and struck it, using the tiny drop of flame to light her cigarette.

“I mean he doesn’t like tea, period. This is a coffee-only household.”  

“Oh.” There was a long silence. “So-“  

“Let me guess, you’ve never made coffee before,”  

“No, I haven’t,” said Lithuania sheepishly.  

“Madre de Dios, you’re hopeless,” groaned the Philippines, rising from her chair. She threw open a cupboard and pulled out what appeared to be a large, metallic pitcher, slamming it onto the countertop with enough force to make the kitchen window rattle. “Pay attention, because I’m only showing you how to do this once.”

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“Well?” asked Mindaugas, “Is he the one?”

“Hmmm…” muttered the priest, crouching next to the young child his Duke had returned with. The wizened old man pinched the boy’s cheeks and nose, scrutinizing him like a farmer purchasing livestock. His gaze was suddenly drawn to an amber pendant which hung around the boy’s neck. “Ah!” he exclaimed, “May I?”

“Sure, I guess,” answered the boy, and the priest slipped the metal chain over the child’s neck.

“So, my child,” asked the priest. “Where did you get such a fine stone?”

“Uhhh… I, um, don’t remember. It was a really long time ago.”

The priest held the talisman up to the window. It seemed to collect the light of the setting sun, glowing ever brighter until a brilliant amber beam shot out and set a nearby tapestry on fire. The duke Mindaugas laughed.

“Well, it seems the gods have spoken,” he said. “Hello, Lietuva.”

 

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One of the most difficult parts of being a nation, at least in earlier years, was the language barrier. Although they learned languages faster than normal people, no nation had the time or patience to learn all of them; thus, whenever two nations met for the first time, a curious ritual occurred in which the they took turns rattling off greetings in various languages until they reached one that both of them knew. Sometimes, this tactic was to no avail, and the conversation was abandoned. In large political conferences, many nations relied on other nations to act as interpreters; for example, if Spain wanted to pass a note to Russia, he would write it in Latin or German and pass it to Prussia, who would transcribe it into Russian.

Much of Catholic Europe avoided confusion by settling on Latin as a common language. However, as technology advanced, and as the European diplomatic sphere expanded to include Russia, Asia, and the Americas, Latin’s usefulness dwindled.

Lithuania himself knew no less than seven languages, which was rather extraordinary, even by phylohuman standards. In fact, he was the best English speaker in the Soviet household, which meant he spent much of his time either translating American and British documents or tutoring his fellow Republics. It was unnerving how accurate America’s assertion had been, although Lithuania didn’t really like the attention, or the responsibilities, that he had acquired as a result.

 

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Lithuania stared at the prism of gray cardboard with a mixture of curiosity and disgust. Powdered eggs. He was aware that technology had made great leaps in the past century, bringing many changes to the kitchen; indeed, somedays Lithuania felt he could kiss whoever had invented the refrigerator. Lithuania had even accepted the existence of powdered milk, after Estonia had explained to him that milk was not a liquid itself, but rather a bunch of proteins and minerals and things mixed with water. He supposed the same was true for egg yolks, but just… ugh.

He inspected the label. It was American, of course, with the label inviting those with questions to write to their company headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. It was somewhat ironic, Lithuania thought, as he placed the box back on its shelf, that Russia had his nuclear bunker stocked with American dried and canned goods. However considering the hypocrisy and corruption that oozed out of every corner of the Soviet Government, it was hardly surprising.

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Of all the skills Lithuania had learned during his time in America, proper home cooking was one of the most important. Sure, he wasn’t a complete stranger to food preparation, but his knowledge had been limited to a few basic stews and soups. In the days of the Russian Empire, he had merely been one of many servants working in the kitchen of his master’s mansion, which was typically Finland’s domain.   

Thanks to the tutelage of the Philippines, Lithuania could bend the modern kitchen to his will. This skill, along with a faded Betty Crocker cookbook that only he could read, made him rather popular among the republics of the Soviet Union. Since many of them had no cooking experience at all, (Latvia, Moldova,) were extremely untrustworthy (Belarus,) or simply didn’t want to cook (Estonia,) Lithuania found himself in the kitchen even when it wasn’t his turn to make dinner, either supervising or assuming someone else’s duties in exchange for a favor. This allowed Lithuania to gain much influence in the Soviet household; he would later joke about how his greatest assets under communist rule were “the English language and apple pie.”

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In many ways, Polotsk mused, Lithuania was like a large dog.

He was fiercely loyal to his lord, his people, and even her. His energy and enthusiasm were near limitless, and he carried an aura of contagious cheerfulness wherever he went. Occasionally, Lithuania would head out on campaign for weeks on end, before returning home battered, bruised, and bloodied, like a dog who had encountered a wolf- yet he still carried a dumb smile, even with rivers of scarlet streaming down his face.

He was transfixed by her, for she was his sole connection to the wider world. She had become accustomed to constant questions about what went on “out there,” questions she didn’t always necessarily have the answer to.Lithuania, like a dog, had required a moderate amount of training from Polotsk- nothing major, just a few pointers on how to present himself in a manner befitting an eastern prince, so he wouldn’t embarrass himself in front of the Ruthenian nobility. (While he was extremely polite, Lithuania’s grasp of social cues left much to be desired.) She had taught him to read and write, and was trying to get him to appreciate literature- which was much more difficult than Polotsk had anticipated. It was extremely difficult for the pagan nation to wrap his head around the concept of “fiction.” Perhaps it was because he lived in a land of continuously evolving legends, and what the rest of Europe perceived as myth, he perceived as reality, or perhaps it was something else entirely.

 

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Latgale was having a nightmare.  

He was tied to a post behind a large ass, which was kicking him in the face. He cried out for help, but the kicking continued.  

Wake up, boy!” bayed the ass. “ Wake up!”  

Latgale woke up with a start, recieving another jab from his brother’s cane in the process.

Finally,” sighed Curonia. “Anyway, we’re here.”  

Groggily, Latgale stepped out of the carriage and was immediately assaulted by the salty sea wind and the cries of gulls.   

“Wait,” said Latgale, “I thought we were going to the beach.”  

“We are, brother!” exclaimed Curonia.  

“Uh… this is a port.”  

“I never told you which beach we were going to, did I?” asked Curonia, a mad twinkle in his eye.

“What?” asked Latgale, confused.  

“Latvia, how would you like to visit the New World?”  

“T-the New World? We can’t do that, we’ll get in trouble, or something!”

“Guess what! I don’t care!” exclaimed Curonia. “All the other seafaring nations have got colonies in the New World, even Sweden! Sweden, Latvia! Sweden’s got a colony, and we don’t! Well, I’m not gonna be left out. We’re gonna form our own colony, Latvia! It’s gonna be the best colony. And once we’ve done that, we can just keep going! Africa, India, the Spice Islands… We’re going to build an empire, Latvia! We’re gonna be rich!”  

As his brother continued his tirade, Latgale found himself getting drawn in to the fantasy. He pictured himself sitting on a throne of solid gold, with princes and merchants from around the world coming to swear their loyalty to him… he began to cackle with glee. Soon, he would be the one calling the shots, and he would fondly remember this day as the start of his rise to fame and fortune.

 

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Belarus was in a good mood. This was not completely unheard of, but it wasn’t that common of an occurrence. What was significantly more odd was that this good mood was arriving on the heels of a near-fatal struggle inside a broken elevator.  

Belarus was happy because the beast had shown its hand. It had dropped its facade, slipped, shown its true nature in the hope of a swift victory, a victory that had failed to materialize. Already she was scribbling away on a notepad, devising a plan to get the demon to reveal himself again, preferably in front of an audience.  

There was a sharp knock at the door of her hotel room.   

“Belarus? Are you in there?” It was her sister.

“Yeah? What do you want?” asked Belarus.

“Can I come in? I want to talk.”

“Sure!” said Belarus, skipping over and pulling open the door.

“You’re… surprisingly cheerful,” noted her sister. “Any particular reason why?”

“Oh, not really~” Belarus lied. “Anyway, what was it you wanted to talk about?”

“It’s about what happened earlier today.’

Belarus froze. Of course he’s already trying to get them all on his side . She should have expected this. “What. Did. He. Tell. You.” she spat, her good mood evaporating.

“N-no!” stammered Ukraine, startled by her sister’s sudden change in demeanor.

“Lithuania hasn’t told anybody anything! He’s been hiding in his room for the past three hours! In fact, I was wondering if you could tell me what happened.”

“Are you saying he’s… scared ?”

“Yes! What did you do?”

“I proved that he’s a phony,” Belarus laughed. “The real Lithuania wouldn’t have gotten scared!”

“Belarus, Lithuania’s had lots of issues left over from the war-”

“You mean the war he spent cowering in a muddy hole in the ground?” screeched Belarus. “The real Lithuania would have fought alongside us all the way to Berlin!” It was just so obvious . Why couldn’t anyone else see it?

“Well, he had his own reasons for-” began Ukraine.

“The real Lithuania wouldn’t have left me!”

Chapter Text

Every morning, Lithuania awoke to the sound of construction in the distance. He would be lying if he didn’t say it was slightly annoying, but he didn’t complain. After all, every crumbling poured-concrete apartment block torn down and replaced was another step closer towards joining the rest of Europe in economic prosperity.  

Sometimes, on his way to work, he stopped to watch the workers scramble around like ants on a skeleton of steel girders. He admired their dedication; it had taken several years for his people to ditch the old Soviet work ethic and to take pride in their jobs. The scars of communist rule would never truly be erased, but Lithuania would not let them define him.

Chapter Text

“Come on, Liet, we can do this,” said Poland, guiding his steed through the dense trees. Lithuania gritted his teeth. Poland was nervous, and when Poland was nervous, he liked to talk. A lot. Lithuania supposed it was a way for the other nation to drown out any self-doubt in his mind, but it was still rather annoying. “I mean, like, literally all of Christendom is counting on us right now.

“I don’t know about all of Christendom, but if you say so…” said Lithuania.  

“Seriously though, I can’t wait to see the look on Austria’s face when he comes to thank us for saving his ass,” remarked Poland, bringing his mount to a halt. Behind him, several thousand armoured lancers did the same.

“Poland, could you please be quiet?” asked Lithuania. “I’d like a few moments to… compose myself, before we begin.”

“Oh, yeah, sure. Uh, sorry.”

Lithuania closed his eyes, and listened. He heard a city in the distance, tens of thousands of men screaming and dying before its walls. He heard the cavalry behind him, a glittering, creaking wall of steel, breathing almost in unison. He heard his partner beside him, and his horse below him, and the warmth of the amber pendant on his chest.

“Alright,” he said, “let’s do this,”

Lithuania, Poland, and 18,000 horsemen dug their spurs into their steed’s flanks, launching them down the mountainside in a tidal wave of leather and steel.

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It was no secret that the Commonwealth was on its last legs. Their economy had never truly recovered after Saxony’s brilliant idea of attacking Sweden, (the same Sweden that Lithuania and Poland had barely managed to fight off not fifty years prior,) had backfired; In the end, they had relied on Russia to save their asses, but the twenty years of pillaging, civil war, and a nasty plague had already taken their toll. For a nation, a poor economy means chronic illness, so both Poland and Lithuania had been feeling miserable for quite some time now.

“Liet, we have a problem.” announced Poland, as he slammed a heavy bag onto the kitchen table.

“You mean, apart from all the ones we already have?” asked Lithuania.

“Yup,” said Poland, upending the bag and letting its contents spill out.

“All I see are a bunch of coins,” said Lithuania. “Wait. Is this all the cash we’ve got left?”

“Calm down, Liet,” answered Poland. “We’re broke, but not, like, that broke. No, these are fakes.”

“Fakes?”

“Every single one,” affirmed Poland. “There are so many of these things floating around that the zloty is losing value, which is why everything has been, like, totally expensive lately.”

“But who would take the effort to do all of this?” asked Lithuania. “I mean, forging coins isn’t exactly easy… you’d need a large supply of raw materials, a press-”

“It’s Prussia,” said Poland. Lithuania didn’t need to ask how Poland knew this, because he had already come to the same conclusion: Prussia was the only person who would sink this much time and resources into being a pain in the ass.

“I swear, it feels like just yesterday he was totally our bitch,” mused Poland. “Now he’s screwing us over. Again.”

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In theory, Poland and Lithuania were equal partners.

Of course, as with many things, “in theory,” was much different from “in reality.” In reality, Lithuania found arguing with Poland more trouble than it was worth, so he was content to let his fellow nation call the shots most of the time.

In reality, Lithuania was dying.

Poland wasn’t aware of this, of course. Nobody was. Was it Poland’s fault that Lithuania’s upper classes were so willing to eschew their culture in favor of Polish culture? No, of course not. Lithuania supposed that his sister must have felt the same, all those centuries ago. When faced with impending demise, Samogitia had chosen to lash out, to strike at the force which had been sucking her dry. Lithuania, however, did not share his sister’s desperation nor her resolve, and as such was content to just grit his teeth and push forward as he and his opinions became increasingly irrelevant, and he slid ever closer towards death.

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“So, how do I look?”

Lithuania nearly spit out his coffee as Poland practically waltzed out of the dressing room.

“Wait, those are girl’s clothes!” he exclaimed.

“Says who?” responded Poland. “Where does it say that a guy can’t wear a skirt if he feels like it?”

“Uhhhh…” Lithuania couldn’t actually think of a good answer to that question.”Huh,” he admitted, “You’ve got a point there, I guess…” To be honest, this outfit was actually quite tame compared to the ones Poland had worn back in the old days.

“Anyway, if you didn’t like it, why didn’t you say something while I was picking it out?”

“Weeell…” Lithuania began. He hadn’t really been paying attention at all to what Poland had been putting in his bag this entire time.

“So, Lithuania, I need you to give me an honest opinion. How do I look?”

“Hmmm… you may want to consider shaving your legs,” said Lithuania.

“You’re totally right,” said Poland, nodding. He gave Lithuania a sly wink. “Wanna try it on yourself?”

“No,”

“Awww, you’re no fun…” pouted Poland.

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The first thing Lithuania felt when he woke up was an intense headache, as if someone had locked his skull into a massive vice and was slowly tightening it. What happened last night? Lithuania wondered. Then he stopped wondering, because it hurt to think.  

The next thing he felt was a strange tickling sensation coming from his gut and throat, like a swarm of fuzzy caterpillars were writhing around in his gut.  

Uh-oh.  

Lithuania bolted out of his room and down the hall, diving into the bathroom without bothering to close the door behind him. He almost didn’t make it to the toilet.

Lithuania’s stomach wrung itself out into the porcelain basin, filling it with sepia-colored slime mixed with flecks of red, orange, and green from last night’s salad. Lithuania stared into the mess, panting from exertion. His head was still throbbing, and now he had a horrid taste in his mouth…  

A powerful shove sent him sprawling to the tile floor. “Ow…” he moaned, craning his neck to get a  better view of his assailant. Said assailant turned out to be Philippines, who had forcibly appropriated his position in front of the toilet.  

 

A few minutes later, the two nations were at the sink trying to wash the taste of bile out of their mouths.   

“So, you too, huh?” asked Lithuania.   

“Please stop talking, you’re making my headache worse,” grunted Philippines.  

“Hey, guys, so-“ Hawaii barged into the room, then paused, sniffing the air. “Oh, right. You have hangovers too.”  

“Hangovers?” asked Lithuania. “But none of us have had alcohol in years!”  

“Remember back in ‘21 when you all drank enough alcohol to put yourselves under the table for three days straight?” asked Hawaii.

“...Sort of?”  

“Well, now it’s finally catching up to you.”  

“That’s still dumb! ” moaned Philippines.    

“Tell that to your headache” said Hawaii. “ Anyways , I was gonna let you know that Puerto Rico wasn’t able to make it to a bathroom in time, but you two are gonna be useless for a while so it looks like I’m taking care of it myself.” She turned to leave, but was stopped by Lithuania’s hand on her shoulder.  

“Wait,” said Lithuania. “How come you aren’t hungover?”  

“Oh, I didn’t drink anything that night. Cause, you know, I’m not stupid, impressionable, susceptible to peer pressure, or trying to drown my dissatisfaction with life in liquor.”  

Philippines, who had returned to retching into the toilet, responded with a middle finger.  

“Wait, does that mean…” began Lithuania.  

“Yeah, I know everything that happened,” said Hawaii. “Honestly Lithuania, you were the one who surprised me the most. I didn’t peg you as batting for either team, let alone both of them.”  

“I… cheated at baseball?” asked Lithuania, confused.  

“Just do yourself a favor and don’t get drunk at parties,” sighed Hawaii. She left the bathroom, shutting the door behind her. Lithuania made to follow her, but his legs had other plans, and he collapsed to the floor again. Maybe I should heed her advice, Lithuania thought, as the room spun around him.

Chapter Text

 

For Lithuania the interwar period had been… alright.  

It had by no means been perfect. In fact, he’d been living in America for half the time, his government was unaware of the existence of phylohumans, and he was still stinging from Poland’s betrayal. Lithuania wasn’t proud of what the Russian empire had turned him into: a spiteful, bitter, and paranoid man who would travel to the other side of the ocean to avoid those he had once called friends. His fears were somewhat justified, considering he had just escaped a slow, painful cultural death at the hands of Poland and Russia, but in hindsight, cutting himself off from literally everyone he knew probably hadn’t been necessary.

What the interwar period had been was a proof of concept. Lithuania had proved to himself that he was capable of living on his own, and that he rather enjoyed it. Therefore, when he was forced into the Soviet Union, it was not a matter of if he’d ever gain his independence, but when .

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What was “honor” in war?

Was it marching out to face your enemy in a fair fight, with victory going to the strongest and bravest? If so, Lithuania was about the least honorable fighter there was. He just simply didn’t do “fair” fights. He sneaked, deceived, and ambushed his way to victory, and his tactics could best be described as “underhanded.” He didn’t care what others thought of his methods, and he would keep using those methods as long as they continued to give him results. Even now, he was in the process of “running away” from the battlefield- a trick he had picked up from the Mongol hordes. He’d wait for the crusaders to turn and fight Poland’s army, and then he;d attack them from behind. Poland probably thought him a coward, which was understandable- what had begun as a false retreat with one or two units had developed into a false rout of Lithuania’s entire army.

Perhaps, Lithuania mused, honor in battle wasn’t the tactics you used, but how you treated your enemies. This was another thing that set Lithuania apart from most of Europe: his enemies were always human, no matter what god or gods they worshiped. He treated his enemies with the respect and dignity due to fellow warriors, a courtesy that the Teutonic Order failed to reciprocate.

Lithuania turned his horse around. Maybe I am the more honorable one after all, he mused, as he charged back towards the fray.

Chapter Text

Joseph Stalin had met Lithuania exactly once. It had been back in 1940, when the republic had first been integrated into the Soviet Union; the General Secretary had made a point of holding one-on-one meetings with all the phylohumans under his control. After all, once you had them under your thumb, the rest of their nation would follow.

From that meeting, Stalin had gathered that Lithuania was a spiritually broken man. After being betrayed by Poland, (the scars of which he had been carrying for the past twenty years- a standard medical examination had revealed six bullets buried in the nation’s back) Lithuania had drifted from town to town in his country to avoid raising suspicion. It was still astounding how no one had bothered to inform the Lithuanian government about phylohumans, but then again, the Lithuanian government hadn’t been much concerned with international cooperation. Overall, Lithuania had shown himself to be loyal, obedient, and submissive, taking orders and following them without question.

Ten years after their meeting it was becoming increasingly apparent that it had all been a ruse. Lithuania had disappeared during the German invasion, and nobody, not even the fascists, had seen him since. It was assumed he was fighting in the forests as a partisan, but nothing was certain. For all Stalin knew, Lithuania could be relaxing on a farm in Michigan while the KGB tore his country apart looking for him. Information on the man was nearly non existent, and no amount of torture or forced confessions was going to change that. Stalin often cursed himself for trusting Lithuania in the first place; after all, the most dangerous thing about those who have lost all hope is that they often have nothing more to lose.

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A good friend, in Russia’s opinion, was like a lump of wet clay. It was something you could shape into perfection, twisting and squishing and pulling until you got the shape you wanted. Sure, sometimes there were cracks you needed to smooth over with your finger, and sometimes you simply needed to smash it into a pancake and start over from scratch, but that was all fine. After all, if the finished model is beautiful, does it matter what steps the sculptor took to create it?

By the time Lithuania arrived at Russia’s house, he had already undergone centuries of molding, first by Belarus and Ukraine, then by Poland. In order to shape Lithuania into the very bestest of best friends, Russia realized he needed to unshape all of Poland’s work first. However, the more Russia kneaded and pulled, the less pliable Lithuania became, as if the sculptor was attempting to shape the clay while it was baking in the kiln. By the time Russia had removed all of Poland’s influence, Lithuania had completely solidified to the point where it was impossible to mold him any further. He had become hard and abrasive, and Russia felt guilty because he’d ruined Lithuania for everybody. Furthermore, Russia realized that if the younger nation wasn’t careful, he was likely to shatter...

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A Standardized System of Measurements


 

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Mail all inquires to:  

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419 Rue Fausse  

Paris, France

Chapter Text

 

The minister stared at the contents of the thin file which had been laid upon his desk. It wasn’t every day that one discovered how the collective consciousness of mankind was tied to a race of immortal superhumans who continued to walk among them, but somehow it all made sense . (The photographic evidence helped as well.) Thirsty for more information, he turned to the dossier which described his nation, which had declared its independence from the Soviet Union less than two years ago. His eyes skidded over the page, landing on the attached photograph. It depicted a young man, definitely no more than twenty years old, with long, brown hair that almost reached his shoulders.

Wait, that looks like-

The minister leaped from his desk, and rushed from his office, file in hand. He raced down the hall, turned a corner, slipped on the wet floor and landed flat on his bottom. The building’s janitor shut off his Walkman and hurried over.

“I’m sorry sir,” he said, resting his mop against the wall, “I forgot to put up the ‘wet floor’ sign. Are you alright?” He reached out his hand to help the minister up.

The minister looked at his file, then at the janitor, then back at the file. There was no mistaking it.

“Are y-you… Lietuva?” Stuttered the minister, as he was helped to his feet by someone who looked two decades his junior but was actually some eight centuries older.  

“That depends,” said Lietuva. “Who’s asking?”

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Russia had known many friends throughout his long and turbulent life, but there had been only one which had, never, ever abandoned him, ever.

Alcohol.

Russia couldn’t remember when he had partaken in his first bottle of vodka. This was a good thing, because one of the main reasons he drank was to forget all the bad things that had happened to him over the years. Sure, it made him forget the good things too sometimes, but this was a necessary sacrifice. After all, if you have a tub full of rotten apples, it’s best to just throw out the entire tiub instead of picking through them and trying to find one that’s still safe to eat.

Another reason Russia drank was because it made the world nicer and easier to understand. The world just got so noisy sometimes, with about a million different lights and sounds all clamoring for his attention. When his belly was filled with liquor, these sensations formed a nice orderly queue, so Russia could address each one individually. Other people may call him “slow,” but those people just needed to learn to wait in line.

The last reason Russia drank was in order to silence the Annoying Voice. The Annoying Voice was a tiny voice in Russia’s head. It was annoying because it was always asking questions, questions like, “is this really the right thing to do?” “Why are you listening to this man?” and “Are you helping or making the problem worse?” These were silly, stupid questions which only caused trouble, and Russia did not like listening to them. Thus, Russia drank. To forget the past, to understand the world, and to drown doubt.

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The ending had been swift.

In less than twenty four hours, the once-independent republic of Lithuania was teeming with Russian soldiers. At some point, elections had been called to “reform the government,” which put the tiny Lithuanian communist party in control of the entire nation. They almost immediately “requested” to join the Soviet Union, and Stalin, in his infinite wisdom and grace, accepted their offer.

Lithuania had no reason to stick around, and didn’t plan on doing so. After all, the Soviet government didn’t have a clue where he was, or what he even looked like, and he intended to keep it that way. He formulated a plan as he hurried from his apartment, carrying only a few useful items in a bag over his shoulder. First I’ll sneak across the German frontier, he thought. From there, I can make for Switzerland… his German was rusty, but passable, and his accent wasn’t too obvious- more than enough to avoid suspicion. Lithuania wished he had more options, but the ongoing global war was limiting his choices severely.

His thoughts were cut short when he ran into a wall in the middle of the sidewalk. Or rather, a person as big as a wall. A very familiar person.

“Hello, Litva!” said Russia. “I’ve been looking for you!”

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Damn him, thought the Livonian Order, let that little brat roast in the fires of hell until the end of time!

To reject the word of God was one thing. Ignorance, after all, was a difficult disease to cure. However, to willingly thrust oneself out of His light, and back into the depths of heathenism…

Why, one would practically need to be a servant of Satan himself.

Not that she was without fault, of course. She should have been able to see through his deception, she should have known that nothing but complete and utter subjugation would drive the devil from these lands. However, she had been blinded by arrogance, and more importantly, greed. She certainly had one hell of a confessional to make come Sunday.  

The holy Order screamed, and slashed at a straw dummy with her sword. It was a way of venting her frustration, and an effective one at that. She had given some of the dummies brown and blonde wigs, and liked to imagine that it was the pagan siblings themselves standing motionless in the practice yard, waiting to be cut open by her blade.

“Mommy?” asked a tiny voice. “Why are you angry?”

The Livonian Order closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The voice was a reminder that she hadn’t completely failed in her mission of bringing salvation to the people of these lands.

“Latgale, some time ago, someone made your mommy an important promise. And last month, they broke that promise.”

“So you’re mad at them for breaking it?”

“No, I’m mad at myself for believing they wouldn’t.”

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Contrary to popular belief, Lithuania didn’t necessarily enjoy fighting. It was a chore, a test of endurance more than anything else. While some phylohumans indeed had the strength of a hundred men, most didn’t have the energy, patience, or attention span required to defeat one hundred individual opponents on the battlefield. Lithuania, as usual, was one of the exceptions to this rule.

Lithuania’s secret lay in his fighting style, a method he called “Deep Battle.” It emphasized fluid motion and lethality, and dealing the maximum amount of damage with every bit of energy expended. In practice, it was less of a fighting style and more of a dance performed in the midst of battle, a series of movements that you performed until everyone around you was dead. The movements formed a rhythm of thrusting and parrying, sidestepping and rolling.  It was by sinking himself in the rhythm that Lithuania achieved the eponymous “Deep Battle,” an almost trance-like state in which he let instincts take full control of his movement. While in Deep Battle, Lithuania could perform his bloody dance for hours on end, until there was no one left to fight or the trumpet signaled a retreat.

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The motorway, as usual, was largely empty. It was extremely difficult for one to acquire a car in the Soviet Union, and there wasn’t really anywhere worth driving to. Lithuania himself was using a military jeep which had been parked in Russia’s driveway since the end of the Afghan war.

Lithuania wished he’d learned to drive sooner. It was so… liberating. He had even rolled the window down, allowing the cold March winds to nip at his face as he sailed down the tarmac.

A sign informed him that he was crossing into the Belarusian SSR, his old backyard. The further he drove, the more recognizable the terrain became- centuries ago, these lands had been part of him. With recognition came the memories, the sense of belonging, as if he were a plant whose roots were rediscovering soil after years of hydroponic growth.

He wondered if the other republics had noticed he has gone yet. It didn’t really matter to him if they did, because unlike his previous stint of independence, Lithuania wasn’t running away. He was taking a leap in the hopes that Latvia and Estonia would follow suit. Instead of glancing fearfully behind him, his sights were set firmly on his destination.

On Vilnius.

On home.



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The forest was in bloom.

Although there was still no one to talk to, Lithuania’s dreamland was undoubtedly alive once more. Birds sang in the branches of the great trees, rabbits darted in and out of the foliage. Lithuania was pretty sure he even saw a deer at one point. If the old gods do come back, will they be happy I remembered them or will they kick my ass for forgetting about them? He couldn’t remember exactly when he had last been handed a divine beatdown, but he knew it had happened at some point.

Lithuania himself had been surprised at just how quickly his country had rebounded, and by how far. Sure, he knew Russia had been holding him back, but not by this much. He was even beginning to outstrip Poland in terms of economic growth. Lithuania’s future was looking brighter than ever before, and boy was he enjoying it.