APH and its characters © Hidekaz Himaruya

Pairing: Russia x China

Rated PG for fluff.


A GIFT


China's shaking hands reached toward the plush Kitty-chan in Russia's arms. He gazed up at Russia with a nervous face, silently asking if he was allowed to touch it. A nod from the Russian and China was rapidly yanking the doll into his own chest. His first impression was that Kitty-chan was so soft. A quiet – but very happy – squeal escaped his throat as he gave Kitty-chan a squeeze. It was the biggest Kitty-chan doll he had ever laid eyes on and it wasn't a cheap knock-off either. He wrapped his arms around the doll and rubbed the side of his face against its forehead. It felt nice, like he was resting his head on a heavenly cloud. He pulled away, eying the doll with utmost affection. He studied the hard black eyes, the pointy ears, the cute elliptical nose, and the non-existing smile; everything about Kitty-chan was perfect. And he couldn't control the excitement circulating through his veins. He curled his lips wide, bearing his teeth as a childish cry of joy sounded from his throat. He quickly gave the doll a protective embrace; if the doll was alive, it would be suffocated by China's thrill.

"I am jealous," Russia said softly. China broke out of his ecstatic trance. He had nearly forgotten that Russia was here. He postured himself properly and put on a dignified face. Meanwhile Russia let out a low sigh and said, "I wish China would hug me like that."

"Don't say things like that-aru," China scolded with a huff. Despite his monolith built, Russia was such a love-starved child at heart. China eyed the disappointed look on Russia's face and he caved in. It was only the polite thing to do. After all, Russia did give him possibly the best present ever. "H-here…" China mumbled as he held Kitty-chan with one hand and leaned forward. He casually put an arm behind Russia's taller body and gave a courteous pat. It was all completely fraternal in nature.

Russia looped his strong arms around China's smaller waist and drew him in. China could smell the alcohol on Russia's breath and as Russia pressed the sides of their faces together, he could feel how warm Russia's body was even though the man's cheeks were tainted red from the cold weather. He heard Russia sighing next to his ear and then resting his heavy chin on his shoulder. China shifted his weight uncomfortably; the hug had gone on too long. He shrugged his shoulders, in hope that Russia would caught on to his idea. But as he half-heartedly struggled to break free, Russia's hold tightened. He had expected that; it wouldn't be Russia if he gave up so easily.

"Wai, wai," China grumbled, lifting a hand to push Russia off, "that's enough-aru."

China stepped back, straightening his arm out to establish a distance between them. Russia did release him but not before he planted a quick kiss on China's cheek. What a sneaky guy. China flushed at the intimate contact. He gritted his teeth and hugged Kitty-chan to his chest, using the doll as a shield. Russia smiled innocently as if pretending he had done nothing wrong.

"Is this it?" China asked. "You came to give me this?"

"Da!" Russia nodded. "I had it specially made. I wanted to give it to you as soon as it arrived."

"T-thank you," China said. His cheek grew pink at the thought of Russia's kindness. No one was half as nice to him as Russia was. No one else had certainly given such a wonderful gift. But still, it didn't mean China would suddenly become soft and doting on his northern neighbor. "You should go home now-aru. It's late."

"But…" Russia frowned with what almost looked like a pout. He turned his head toward the door and lifted up his scarf over his mouth. Quietly, he said, "it's so cold outside..."

"Ah, so it is," China agreed as apathetically as he could. He met Russia's pleading gaze and grunted inwardly. How could he have gotten soft for a Kitty-chan doll? Though it wasn't his fault that he was such a brotherly person. Plus, it would be rude to kick someone out of his house in such late hours. He turned away from Russia and mumbled, "You can spend the night if you wish, but you must leave in the morning."

China turned around and walked into his bedroom before he could hear Russia's response. He closed the door, leaving his guest out by himself. He already knew Russia wouldn't leave anyways. He placed Kitty-chan on the bed and grinned blissfully to himself as he readied for bed. He heard Russia's stern footsteps on the floorboards. Perhaps he was being a bad host, he thought for a moment. But it wasn't as if he had invited Russia to his house. He pushed the thoughts to the back of his mind as he crawled into bed, making sure to cover Kitty-chan with the blanket as well. He rolled toward the doll and snuggled happily against it. Winter was approaching and he should have prepared the winter sleeping materials already. He rustled the sheet and pulled it up over his shoulder. He drew Kitty-chan closer to him, hoping that he would receive some warmth. But the doll was cold and lifeless, unable to give China the comfort he sought.

"Good night, Kitty-chan," China whispered with a giggle. After a long day of working the fields, China was glad to finally rest. But his head was loitered with thoughts of Russia. Russia was, China reasoned, a decent man. The man was by no means a nice person as China had witnessed the madness that resided within him. But he wasn't a bad person either. Russia was troubled and confused. He was a child, compared to the matured China, and children were often the most difficult to deal with. China would admit that he enjoyed time spent with Russia now and then.

As if Russia knew he was thinking of him, the bedroom door opened with a soft creak. China fluttered his eyes open and tilted his head toward the light. Russia stood at the entry way; his fingers gripping the door handle. The outside light painted Russia's ominous shadow over the bed. China felt intimidated for a moment and his hands unconsciously clung to Kitty-chan's cotton-filled body.

"W-what is it-aru?" he mumbled, not bothering to sit up but hardening his grip on the plush doll.

"Can I sleep with you?" Russia asked casually like he was asking what time it was.

"N-no!" China huffed and rolled over in bed to hide his face. "I'm sleeping with Kitty-chan tonight."

"Where should I sleep then?" Russia's voice dropped an octave; a sign that meant a shift in his mood.

"Outside. I don't know-aru. Maybe you should go home," China said the last part quietly into Kitty-chan's head.

He knew he had upset Russia when the door slammed suddenly. He jumped and rolled over to face the door. Once Russia had left, darkness took command of the bedroom again. China scooted toward Kitty-chan and sighed. Russia sure was a moody person and he couldn't help but feel that he should apologize. He rested his head on the doll's arm and closed his eyes. Russia once again seized his every thought. Russia had certainly helped him a lot through the years and they were most definitely friends. And China suddenly realized though he preferred them to remain as friends, he wondered now and then if they could be something more. He gritted his teeth and groaned embarrassedly. The notion made his stomach twisted. He was too old for relationships.

"So annoying," China said to himself after a while. He couldn't sleep at all and he lost track of how long he had tried. He sat up with a frustrated thrash of his arms.

He kicked the sheet off his legs though he really wished he could kick himself. He shuffled toward the door and opened it slowly. The lights were off outside. His breath choked as he scanned the lightless house. Every object blended perfectly into the next, forming one completely grey mess and making it difficult to locate Russia. Or perhaps Russia did go home and China felt his throat dry up. He had sent Russia away in the dead of a cold night. How cruel.

He stepped out of the doorway and made his way to the front door with hopes that he would be able to catch a glimpse of Russia's back. Perhaps he would even try to convince him to come back. He slowed down as he neared the door. He narrowed his eyes at the sight of Russia slumping over the table. The thick scarf was bunched up into a make-shift pillow and the Russian rested face-down with his arms around his head. China's chest constricted at his own inconsiderate offer. It was obvious there wasn't any room for someone to sleep outside the bedroom. And yet, he was amused and pleased that Russia still decided to stay the night.

It was perhaps his fraternal instinct or something more. China stood next to the sleeping man and touched his shoulder gently, as not to startle him. Russia lifted his head; amethyst eyes dully stared into China's caramel-colored ones. He would tell the anger in Russia's eyes but the anger was slowly melting away into a mixture of surprise and anxiousness.

"Come to bed," China whispered though he wasn't sure why. He retrieved his hand and lazily led the way into the bedroom. He had often shared his bed with his siblings, namely Hong Kong and Korea, but it would be the first time he had offered it to an outsider. His knees trembled slightly. What was he thinking sharing a bed with a stranger? It was an indecent and inappropriate proposal but he didn't speak up as he took Kitty-chan off the bed and placed it on the floor next to him.

He pulled the blanket over his head and turned side-way to hide his face as well as to give Russia more room on the small bed. He squeezed his eyes shut as he listened to the door closed and Russia's footsteps approaching the bed. He swallowed hard and gripped his pillow at the sound of Russia undressing. As long as he kept some clothes on, China would tolerate it. After all, it would be inconvenient to sleep in the heavy coat and hard boots and sturdy pants. He just hoped Russia wore undergarments.

China found himself shaking nervously. Russia's weight pressed down on the mattress. The mattress groaned and rocked as Russia shifted on the bed. China was involuntarily pulled toward the man by the laws of gravity. He regained his position quickly, drawing in his knees and crossing his arms over his chest defensively. He had learned to protect his body, thanks to Korea.

"W-wai!" China cried out at Russia's arms snaking around his waist. "W-what are you doing-aru!"

"Hmm… I'm cold," Russia said innocently. "It's warmer this way."

"Keep your hands off me," China protested. He scooted himself away from Russia. As his bed wasn't meant to be shared by someone of Russia's stature, China was nearing the edge and close to falling off. He groaned angrily when he felt his bedmate closing in. He could feel his back rubbing against Russia's chest and Russia's chin pushing behind his head. He hated to admit that it did feel warmer with Russia closer to him; it was definitely much warmer than sleeping with Kitty-chan.

"D-don't do anything funny-aru," he warned and drew his chin in.

"Good night, China," Russia said cheerfully.

China responded the greeting under his breath. He snapped his eyes close and let out a deep sigh. Why was his life so chaotic? He couldn't even sleep peacefully. He stayed still and listened to Russia's steady breathing behind him. He waited for him to switch into a different sleeping position but Russia kept a secure hold around his waist, with no intention of letting go.

China pried his eyes open and turned his head slightly. He peeped at Russia's sleeping face and sighed weakly. Russia was still a child after all and children were afraid to sleep on their own, weren't they? He released the last sigh harboring in his chest and relaxed the tension in his muscles. He let his eyes shut as he felt Russia gently squeezing his waist.

It wasn't so bad.


China put down two bowls of warm congees on the table. Russia smiled appreciatively at him from across the table as he took a seat. China picked up a baozi from the plate and bit into the warm food. Russia stirred the congee with the spoon; his curved eyes never leaving China once. China turned his head away with a frown, discomforted by the persistent stare. After breakfast, he would be sure to kick Russia out of his house. He didn't have the time or energy to babysit.

He tore off a chunk of the flour skin and tossed it in his mouth. Russia took a test sip of the congee before taking another one.

"China," Russia said with a smile, "do you like sleeping with me or Kitty-chan?"

"Don't ask stupid questions-aru," China almost choked on the hot pork meat. He wiped his mouth with a growl and a hot face.

"I'm curious." Russia scooped up a spoonful of the rice porridge and blew on it.

China stuffed the rest of the baozi in his mouth and chewed quickly and noisily. With a mouth full of pork and bun, he turned his head sideway and mumbled, "Ymmmommmu."

"Hmmm?" Russia perked up, licking his lips to clean up the dripping liquid. He blinked confusingly and asked, "What did you say?"

China kept his head turned and shrugged his shoulders. He picked up his bowl of congee and slurped it, not caring how hot it was or how ridiculous he looked trying to swallow his breakfast in one go. He heard Russia chuckled. His face flushed. He was thinking…

You are warm and you hold me through the night.

… but he could never tell Russia that.


THE END


Boyue's Note: Sloppy writing is sloppy. Fluff for RuChu is good, y/y? Too much angst for this pairing really. o.o;;

04.26.09

12:28 AM