Details/Notes: I never thought I would write holiday!fic, mostly because I hate the holidays, but man, Liet and America are irresistible. I might do Christmas too, if I have the time. Please see my profile for general disclaimer, and my other fic if you enjoyed this one. Please comment! I love reading your words!
Lithuania learns how to be thankful, and how to be content.
He mostly hears about it in little comments that America makes to himself around the house. He traces a callused finger along the wall calendar and exclaims, "It's almost Thanksgiving!"
Lithuania turns away from the dishes he's washing. "You keep mentioning it. Is it very important?"
"Of course it is!" America spins away from the calendar. "Thanksgiving originally celebrated the kindness the Native Americas showed the English settlers."
He smiles, one that isn't quite happy, and which Lithuania thinks is reserved for America's childhood. He claps his hands together and continues after a moment, "Well, it's changed a lot since then, but it's still a great holiday, because everyone has something to be thankful for, no matter who they are!"
"It sounds very nice," Lithuania says, and ducks his head to hide the blush that has risen in his cheeks. He doesn't know if he'll ever get used to America's warm optimism.
He concentrates on the dishes for as long as it takes for the colour to leave his cheeks, before he asks, "What do you do to celebrate?"
America grins now, eager as always to explain his culture to Lithuania, and lays into it, "Mostly it's about food! There's a bunch of special dishes that people make, like sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce, and stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Oh! The turkey is a really big deal of course."
Lithuania finishes with the dishes as America speaks, drying his hands off on the apron he had taken to wearing, and leaning against the counter as America finishes.
"Everyone sits down to eat together, and it's just a really fun time of being with family and friends," America smiles at him brilliantly now, so warm that Lithuania thinks he might catch fire, "The people you care about most, y'know? And some families go around the table and everyone says what they're thankful for that year."
"I've never cooked Thanksgiving food before," Lithuania says, worry lacing his voice after America finishes his explanation. "Do you have any books on it? I want to make sure I get it right."
"You–" America looks honestly shocked, as though Lithuania had just proposed to him. He blushes again at the thought, and this time he has no distraction, but that's okay because a moment later America is hugging him for all he's worth.
He pulls away after a moment, studying Lithuania's suddenly crimson face. "You really want to do Thanksgiving dinner?"
"It sounds nice. I, I like learning things about you, America," he tells him honestly.
America bobs his head in a happy nod. "Okay, great! There should be a couple cookbooks around here with the basics. But it's weeks away. I'm sure you'll do brilliantly, and I'll help of course. This'll be awesome, Liet!"
He presses a kiss to the top of Lithuania's head, and a second later he's darting out the door with his jacket slung over his shoulder, because he has important things to do somewhere else.
Because it isn't quite the holidays yet.
Lithuania turns back to the spotlessly clean kitchen, and sighs, before climbing up onto the counter so he can reach the tallest shelves where America keeps his cookbooks.
Four hours of reading later, he's a lot less excited about the entire ordeal as he was in the morning. He wasn't really going to have to wake up every two hours to marinate the turkey the night before, right?
Didn't this dinner include green vegetables? Or at least something that wasn't covered in butter before serving?
He hadn't even got to the desserts yet!
Lithuania was still combing the cookbooks for information when America returned in the evening, and in fact, he didn't realise that America had returned until he was startled out of his reading induced trace by his laughter.
"Liet? Don't tell me you've been reading those all day!"
"America?" He jumped at the sound of his voice, flailing and overbalancing into the stack of books that had accumulated on the couch next to him.
He was rescued by America's strong arms, catching up and pushing him upright again. "That's me. Didn't I say not to worry. Don't tell me you enjoyed reading A Calendar of Dinners With 615 Recipes? Man, even I don't need that much food!"
"No, no. I feel better, actually," Lithuania pauses hesitantly, "Er, the turkey isn't really as complicated as they all say, right?"
"What? All you do is spice it up and chuck it in the oven for a few hours," America tells him as though it's the most simple thing on the planet, which perhaps it is, but Lithuania's reading says otherwise.
"A lot of these recipes talk about marinating, and then there's the stuffing part. Are you supposed to put it inside the turkey?" Lithuania picks up one of the recipe cards dubiously.
"You don't have to. Some people do." America shrugs, blithely continuing, "We don't have to do a big dinner if you don't want. Whatever makes you happy! Just turkey, potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie. Maybe corn or something. Corn is tasty."
"That still sounds like a lot," Lithuania sighs.
"We'll have each other to help out," America tells him, and the smile on his face means Lithuania can't say no. He never was very good at that anyway.
"Thank you," he says, and begins collecting the books to put away, "It's late. I'll go start tonight's dinner."
"Why don't we go out?" America suggests, and to Lithuania's dismay he begins to help collect the books, piling most of them into his arms until he can just barely see over them.
Lithuania blushes. "I don't really think that's a-appropriate."
"Why not?" America blinks behind his glasses, clueless to the social protocols running through Lithuania's head. "We're friends, aren't we?"
He blushes, and doesn't say that Russia called Lithuania his friend too, that those words mean something very different in his world, or that Lithuania was here for their mutual benefit, because he needed America.
He was America's help, not his friend, right?
Instead, he replies, "Yes," and, "If we're going out, I should change."
It's almost worth it just to see the wide smile that America gets, the way his head bobs.
The light behind his eyes dances in Lithuania's direction.
"I'll take care of the books, you go get ready." He doesn't wait for Lithuania to reply, just skips into the kitchen, and so Lithuania lets his own arms drop the books back on the sofa, and wanders off to his room to find the clothing he first arrived in.
His uniform feels strange after all the days of wearing the clothes America bought for him. Dress pants and boots, all of his little medals clicking softly against his chest.
He doesn't feel like he should be wearing this, but America just grins at him in the entrance way, and offers his arm.
Lithuania takes it, and observes his boots.
Dinner is delicious. America takes him to a quieter restaurant, with lighting that flows softly through wall-mounted gas lamps, and a menu that is as miss-matched as the citizens that created it.
He eats slowly, carefully, not wanting to mess anything up, and America takes to teasing him about this, offering Lithuania large bites from his own fork, and making his face flame with embarrassment.
America drives them home, and on the steps leading up to the door he pulls Lithuania into a soft hug. His arms curl protectively around Lithuania's back, and Lithuania's ear rests for that moment directly against America's heartbeat. He sighs without meaning to, invisible tension unknotting in his shoulders.
"I really love having you around, Liet," America admits, resting his cheek on the crown of Lithuania's head.
"You're too nice."
"Friendship is like that."
Lithuania shuts his eyes, trying to ward away the sting of them.
Yes, he thinks, that is what friendship should be.
He watches in the coming weeks as America grows excited and anxious, lazy and restless, all at the same time. His people greet him jovially when he goes out, and everyone seems possessed by a childish eagerness. Even the cynical ones let their insults slide off their tongues with a certain cheer, happy to have something silly to complain about.
Lithuania makes his own plans, going out and buying a pumpkin that he holds like a baby on the walk home. America laughs at him when he sees it.
"For pie," Lithuania tells him.
"In the old days we didn't have any of this," America says just a few days before the holiday, stretched out like a cat on the sofa while Lithuania curls up in an armchair, content to watch America rest, "Just corn and porridge, and potatoes. But we made it into a feast."
He stares at Lithuania without his glasses on, his vision unfocused and fuzzy, and Lithuania thinks silently that he is seeing the real America, unmasked and vulnerable.
"That's the important part," he finishes, his voice strong.
"Life is what you make of it," Lithuania whispers, words that he's repeated to himself, but never truly understood, because he's never been able to make his life anything other than difficult.
"Every good thing is worth celebrating. Even if it's just that you won't starve to death in the winter," America says, and Lithuania thinks that maybe he does understand, with America's eyes on him.
Lithuania wakes up early on Thanksgiving morning, and fumbles with his hair for several increasingly ridiculous moments before going down to the kitchen to start preparing for their day of feasting.
He is joined by America not too long after, still dressed in his rumpled pyjamas.
"Happy Thanksgiving," he says, pressing a kiss to Lithuania's cheek and giving him a hug. Lithuania stutters out a reply, his breath catching in his throat unexpectedly.
"Can you hand me the milk?" he asks, and America obliges readily.
The kitchen is hardly small, but with both of them moving around each other in clumsy circles it becomes intimate. Lithuania accidently bumps into America's shoulder on his way to check the bubbling stock, and America bumps his hip in return when he wanders over to the stove to stir the potatoes.
Neither of them really talk about anything important. America stated adamantly that politics and news and other touchy subject were off limits for the holidays.
The way he said it meant that there was a story somewhere in there, but Lithuania politely refrained from asking.
America is a decent cook when it comes to his own dishes. Lithuania hardly has to supervise him, and actually benefits from his expertise on a couple of items. Some of the things America insists on are just silly, like topping the yams with a layer of marshmallows, but it is his holiday.
Everything is put on hold to wait for the turkey to catch up, and America pulls Lithuania into the living room, to the large armchair in front of the fire.
He doesn't have time to react until America pulls him down into his lap and spreads a blanket over them both. He giggles quietly at Lithuania's face. "Isn't it nice today?"
"Yes," Lithuania says, looking at the windows. The weather is cold but dry, and the leaves are being blown about in the wind. He wonders when it will start to snow here.
He manoeuvres himself around on America's lap until he thinks they're both somewhat comfortable, and lets his head fall onto America's chest. He doesn't seem to mind, so Lithuania stays there, calmed by the steady beat of his heart.
America tells him stories quietly as they rest. He tells of when the first settlers came to America, how difficult it was for them, and how they kept dying in the winter, or sailing back across the sea in their ships, leaving him alone again, and when Lithuania shivers, America hugs his arms around him, and says, "It's okay, the ending is happy."
He speaks of Jamestown, of Plymouth, of how everyone slowly learned to work together, and how they finally made it through the winter. How more people began to come, and America wasn't alone anymore.
"It went bad, of course," America whispers, and skims over that part of his history, "But the colonies grew. Women and children joined the men. Towns sprung up."
He smiles that special smile again, cold and nostalgic, and Lithuania can't help shivering. "You're very young," he whispers without meaning to.
It's very easy to forget that he's the eldest here, that he and Poland were ruling together when America was barely an infant, still struggling to survive in the wilderness.
America's smile changes, and he doesn't argue, merely saying, "The war forced me to grow up."
Which one, Lithuania doesn't ask.
"Come on, we should check on dinner." America peels the blanket away slowly, letting in the draft, and Lithuania sits up in his lap so that they are eye to eye.
Lithuania's movements are jerky as he leans closer, his gaze fixed on the shine of spit on America's lower lip, and then very quickly they are kissing.
His mouth is even warmer than his smile, Lithuania thinks, sucking in the heat of the kiss, feeling it curl into the pit of his stomach, making his entire body coil like a spring.
America hums into their mouths, breathy and content.
He has never kissed anyone like this, with no strings or ill feelings, just the two of them letting their mouths meld together in a sign of mutual affection.
He pulls away first, and America looks lost for a moment without the contact, before he blushes, something foreign and amazing that Lithuania revels in, and asks, "Can we continue this, um, after dinner?"
Lithuania smiles, and nods his head.
"I really do love having you around," America tells him as they both stand up, and Lithuania's stomach is filled with butterflies.
"Y-you're too nice," he replies, ducking his head.
America laughs. "I think it's rubbing off."
End Notes: Thank you for reading, hopefully you enjoyed. I think I've been reading too much depressing stuff lately to pull off pure sugary fluff, so I hope you didn't mind the little bits of melancholy that crept in. Please take a few moments and leave a review.