A/N: Just for the record, the title is borrowed from a line in an Academy Is… song. Virtual points to whoever can tell me what one it is. 8D I love that song. Mahaha.

But in any case, bring on the Russia/Lithuania goodness! This pairing needs more love. It's one of my favourites from Hetalia. XD So cute. So abusive. I hope you like it!

I don't own Hetalia.

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Hold Your Heads High, Heavy Hearts

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But you know what's funny, Ivan…? This doesn't even hurt.

Blood. Blood mixed with a little bit of salt water leaking out of his eyes. But he wasn't crying; or at least any more. Now he was fighting them back by biting his lip. What could a few more cuts be compared to all the others?

Russia peered down at him, watching his sides heave with every labored breath. "Toris? Toris, why are you giving up? Why won't you ever hit me back…?" There was sadness in his heavy eyes, those eyes that had seen too much in their own life that they didn't know what else to do with all of that but push it onto everyone else's life as well. "Please, Toris. Come here."

Lithuania winced as he grabbed him, not because of physical pain, but mental terror. No, it didn't hurt. Not in the way that it should have. The bruises bloomed on his skin like bleeding roses, but none of them could match the ones on the inside of his heart. Toris let it happen because all he really wanted was to see his Ivan smile a real smile, if only once.

Submissively, the small brown haired man let Russia kiss him. Their mouths met as if it were for the first and last time all at once. (As almost always it was between them.) When Ivan finally broke apart their kiss, he shoved the smaller man sharply back into the wall. Toris cried out in surprise as he was jarred roughly into a corner.

"Please, Toris. Tell me how much you hate me." The Russian whispered, reaching for his hand again. Their fingers entwined, and he delivered a much more tender kiss. "Because you should, oh you should hate me. I'm sorry...I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." There was honest guilt inside him, and knowing this made Toris stay there.

Sometimes he dreamed of being able to just punch him back, all the same as how Russia constantly pummeled his heart. frankly, it was near on the verge of giving out…

He imagined having Russia being the one who was cracking, fractured with the stress of being so in love with a dream it was poisonous.

Being in love with the poison.

It was a toxin if Toris had ever seen one. Not even a gas mask could save him, and besides, you couldn't kiss through a gas mask. It simply wouldn't work out that way.

He wished all these things inside his pounding head.

He wished he could walk away.

But the blatant truth was he couldn't, because he knew he would be just as sad as he was now to see Russia confused and abandoned.

He couldn't, he couldn't let these bruises fade, not the ones on his skins or the ones in his weak heart. For as long as they were there, he could always carry a part of dear desperate Russia with him.

"I know you're sorry…" Lithuania choked out, finding solace in their fingers touching. It was like they could still be together even through the chain link fence of emotional blockage. He understood that Russia didn't have any clue how to stop any more than his abused lover did.

Neither of them knew any more than this.

"Please don't be like that."

Lithuania blinked, and stammered, "But…But I…I d-do…!"

"Listen to me!" He hissed, tightening without warning a grip on Lithuania's shoulder which he could feel squeezing through his shirt. "I said not to be that way, Toris."

"But I—"

"Stop!" The sound of his hand smacking, cracking brutally across the other's cheek. "Stop, stop, stop!"

Sting. It stung, he noticed. But not as much as Ivan's guilt bubbling over right before him. Somehow it was made all numbed and had sadness added to it at the same time to see it so plainly there.

"Okay…" He coughed quietly, assuming his cheek was probably bright red now from the blow. "Oh…Okay, Ivan. I…I w-won't."

Russia's tiny smile was the most genuinely tortured one Lithuania had watched spread across his face in a long while. Not exactly the real one that Toris longed to witness, but it really made him beautiful, and truly small compared to the huge, unforgiving world. Tentatively and cautiously his fingers searched to touch Lithuania's. Through the imaginary fence they met.

"Ah, Toris. You know what? You deserve so, so much better than me." He murmured with all his soul before striking him again.

Toris smiled at the impact.

Thank you, Ivan.

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A/N: I'm not going to lie. This was oodles of fun to write, once I got past the first half a page. :3 After that I wrote it mostly in one go. Binge writing ftw. XD Lawlz.

Thanks for reading, my lovelies! Oh, and does anybody know what the song from the title is yet? X3 Because I will adore you forever if you do. 8D Internet cookies for winners with good musical taste?