APH and its characters © Hidekaz Himaruya

Pairing: Russia x China

Made with 100% cheese… so it's totally cheesy. 8D


Yao stares at the matryoshka doll sitting on the far left corner of his desk. The wooden doll is almost as big as a half-liter water bottle and just as fat. Its bright red coat dotted with gold glitter stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the objects on the desk. On the doll's chest is a white flower – though Yao can't figure what kind of flower it is supposed to be – and its face is a smiling one, completed with a cute pink blush. From afar, the doll looks adorable. But up close, Yao can see the flaws in the craftsmanship. Colors are mixed and go outside their lines. A lone spot of white taints the back of the doll – an obvious careless mistake. If he looks closely, he can even see a faint fingerprint mark on one of the petals.

Yao picks up the doll and turns it over. He hears something rattles but ignores it, thinking that it's just the way the doll is made. He scans the bottom of the doll with a smirk. With that level of craftsmanship, he was half-expecting to find a "Made in China" gold sticker. But Ivan did say he made it himself, which is miraculous in Yao's mind. Everyone knows what big hands Ivan has; it must have been difficult to paint the doll and give it such details: sloppy details… but details nonetheless. He is surprised Ivan even has the patience to complete the project; the Russian can't even sit through one episode of Kitty-chan's Adventure with Friends – and the show is only twenty minutes long!

He gives the doll a quick shake before he sets it back on the desk. The gift has been sitting on his desk for two weeks now. Ivan has given it to him for "no special reason" and only hoped that Yao would "really really really" like it. The next day, Ivan even asked what Yao thought of it. Yao had to force a quiet "It's nice." He didn't know why, but Ivan looked really disappointed when he didn't say anything else about the present.

Unfortunately, Yao doesn't really really really like it. In fact, he barely likes it at all. The traditional Russian decoration just doesn't fit his taste. Not to mention it looks… well… it looks ugly compared to all his Kitty-chan's merchandises.

Still, Yao doesn't have the heart to lock the doll in a cold dark drawer. Because Ivan handmade it for him; he can't throw his lover's effort away like cheap garbage. And who knows what would happen if Ivan finds out…

So the doll is here to stay, regardless of how out of place it looks. Yao moves it to the edge of the desk. He leans back against his chair and scoots his laptop toward himself. He sees it happening from the corner of his eyes; as he moves the laptop, the power cord moves along. The thick cord whips the doll from behind and knocks the unsuspecting maiden off the desk.

Yao gasps. He lurches forward – hitting his ribs against the desk – but he still isn't quick enough. The doll doesn't even slip through his fingers before it thuds on the hardwood floor. He pushes away, rubbing his chest, and hurries to the broken maiden.

"Aiyah, aiyah, aiyah!" Yao whines as he picks up the doll from the floor.

He stares at the crack along its waistline; the interior wood expose. His heart sinks; how can he explain it to Ivan? He sits down on the chair and grabs the bottle of glue. Ivan won't have to find out if there is nothing to find out. He sets the doll down on its back – it rolls a little – and twists open the glue. The sticky white substance will solve everything!

He squints at the damage, looking for the right place to put the glue. Now that he has a chance to look at the crack more calmly, he realizes it's more accurate to call it a "slit". He picks up the doll again and grips each half tightly. He gives the top half a gentle tug and the slit gets bigger.

"What is this…?"

Yao slowly twists the top half of the doll off. He gasps again; he certainly didn't expect to find another doll inside the big one. So that is where the rattling noise comes from! The smaller one looks similar to the bigger one; it's red with gold glitter and a white flower. The only significant difference is that it has a sweeter and more childish expression and its eyes are also a different color. Now he appreciates Ivan's effort even more: not one, but two dolls? Oh Ivan – it must have killed him.

He picks up the smaller one and studies it closely. The flower doesn't match; parts of some petals twist to the left. Now unless Ivan paints the flower that way, Yao figures the second doll can also be opened. So he grips the two halves and pulls them apart slowly to find exactly what he has expected. Doll Number Three looks like its landlord but with a younger appearance. With a smaller size, the details look sloppier than the previous two but he can tell how hard Ivan tried to draw the eyelashes. Yao can't imagine how many hours Ivan spent on them. He lets out a sigh and a soft smile plasters his face. Ivan can be really sweet when he wants to.

He opens the third one to find the fourth one waiting. Number Four is about the height of his thumb with a little dot of pink for its mouth. The flower has dwindled down to only five messy petals with a hurried blob of glitter for its center. Yao wonders how many more are nested inside and just how small do they get. He glances to his fingernail and snorts to himself; Ivan can't work with something that small.

He cracks open Number Four and looks for Number Five. But there isn't a fifth doll waiting for him. Instead, he finds a silver ring with a small diamond. His jaw drops. He gives the shell a rattle; the ring does a little dance. The diamond sparkles.

This can't be right.

He grins nervously and picks up the ring. He lifts it up high and scrutinizes it under the ceiling light. It must be a fake. A ring must be what all Russians put inside their little wooden matryoshka doll!

The diamond shines down at him like rays of the sun and the crystalline glint doesn't lie.

Yao clutches the ring in his fist. He runs to his bed and snatches his phone. His fingers tremble so hard he can barely press the button; luckily, he has Ivan's phone on speed dial. It rings and rings and rings. Yao glances at the time; it's late, Ivan is most likely in bed already. He normally wouldn't wake the Russian up… but desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Ehhh? Yao~Yao?" Ivan's sleepy voice answers.

"You big idiot!" Yao screeches, veins popping.

"Wahhhh! W-what? What did I do?"

"Y-you…! I-I… have to talk to you… in person!"

"What is i---"

"Right now!"

Yao slams the phone down with a heavy huff. He opens his fist. He has been holding the ring so tight that the diamond left an imprint on his palm. He stares at the gem and it stares back at him, gleaming, shining, enticing.

He has never been so angry.

"Yao~Yao," Ivan whines nervously, "What did I do?"

Yao keeps his arms crossed over his chest. With a strong pout, he eyes Ivan up and down. Ivan has thrown on a plain shirt and pants; his coat isn't buttoned and his scarf lazily hangs around his neck. His hair is messy and his eyes droop with fatigue. Yao feels a little – just a little – bad for waking Ivan up. But the other emotions inside him overwhelm any guilt he feels for disrupting the Russian's sleep.

He extends his hand and unclenches his fist. The ring glistens under the streetlight.

"This," he shouts, "what is the meaning of this!"

Ivan's eyes open fully now. He opens his mouth for a quiet gasp. He alternates his glance between the ring and Yao.

"It's…! I… I thought…"

"What were you doing hiding this inside the doll?" Yao scowls, stomping his foot, "If you have something to say, say it like a man!"

Yao keeps the mean pout; his cheeks puff with red. He shoves his hand forward with his eyes dart off to the side.

Ivan takes the ring. He reaches for Yao's hand with his free hand and holds them gently together. Yao exhales sharply. With all the blood rushing to his head, he is surprised he hasn't fainted yet. His knees slightly tremble and his stomach knots. All he can think is that Ivan's hand is really warm and big. He meets Ivan's eyes and relaxes a little when he sees the blush on Ivan's face.

"Yao, marry me?" Ivan asks, simple as that.

"Hn." Yao nods.


"… Y-yes… I will marry you."

Ivan grins softly. Yao watches with hazy eyes as Ivan slips the ring on his finger. It fits so perfectly. Ivan slides his hands to Yao's lower back while Yao grips Ivan's shirt tightly. They lean toward each other. Their lips brush innocently. Yao feels Ivan's breath on his skin; it consumes his senses. He moves his hands behind Ivan's neck. They gaze at each other like stone statues. Yao swallows hard and Ivan chuckles sheepishly. Nothing needs to be said. They kiss deeply. Yao shudders as Ivan invades his every nerve with that kiss. He gladly surrenders to the sensation coursing through his veins.

Ivan's love, yes, Ivan's love.

He takes back what he said before. He actually really really really likes the present.


Boyue's Note: I threw my matryoshka doll on the floor. It didn't break open… but then I have carpet. 8D

Reviews will make me a happy panda! ;D


2:50 AM