A/N: I noticed that in most, if not all, fics featuring Belarus and Russia, he was afraid of her even before the end of the Soviet Union. However, in the manga strip that shows Belarus coming back to him, he didn't seem wary of her at all at first; in fact, he was rather glad she'd come back to live with him. So, my theory is that either she only went completely insane after the USSR, or Russia had been in denial of her scariness until it got too bad to be ignored any longer. This is my take on it.


The White Russian Bride

It was completely silent, save for the tick of the clock and the sloshing of liquid in a glass bottle. The silence was maddening, and the fact that this was such a big house only made it worse. Big houses just weren't meant to be this quiet. They weren't meant to be this empty. Otherwise, what was the point of having such a big house?

Not so long ago, this house used to be inhabited by so many people. It had also been quiet back then, but it had been a pleasant, peaceful sort of quiet, not this desolate, sepulchral one. There had always been the sound of steps up and down the stairs, or the sound of kitchen utensils right before and after each meal was served, or a voice calling out for a beloved sibling... Even if one had been alone in a room, they would know they weren't alone in the house. That had been such a comforting thought.

Russia brought the bottle to his lips again, trying to wash off these depressing thoughts and muffle the deafening silence. So far, however, he hadn't been very successful. This was his third – or was it his fourth? – bottle and he still felt miserably sober. Maybe his body had increased its resistance to alcohol, so that he no longer had the capacity to get drunk.

Now that was a frightening thought!

Having drained this bottle empty, Russia dropped it to the floor with a loud clank and shuffled his way to the cupboard where he could get another bottle. When he lifted his gaze from the floor, he stopped and blinked. It seemed he wasn't as alone as he'd thought, because someone very familiar was in the house and was calmly walking towards him. Funny, he hadn't heard the door being opened.

"Belarus?" he asked in confusion. For a moment, he wondered if he actually was drunk and hallucinating.

"Brother," said Belarus in response as she came to stand before him. Her face was unreadable, completely devoid of expression, as usual.

"What are you doing here? Weren't you with America?" he asked, careful not to let his voice betray how hurt he felt that his dear little sister had gone to his rival's side right after the fall of the Soviet Union. Of all nations, why did it have to be America?

"Yes," she said, looking almost apologetic. "After our sister convinced me to run away with her, America took me in... But then I realised that I really belong here with you, my brother."

Russia was touched. His sister had lived with America, the so-called greatest nation in the world, and yet had decided she would rather be with Russia after all?

"Bela..." he began, searching for words and failing to find any.

"I'll stay with you, my brother... I'll stay with you forever," she added shyly, taking a step closer.

Russia felt a rare wave of warmth, happiness blossoming in his frozen heart. He couldn't remember anyone ever spontaneously claiming to want to be with him. It was too good to be true.

"Thank you... D-do you mean it?" he asked, barely daring to hope.

"Of course." She came closer again, almost too close, and clasped her hands around his. "And it would be even better if we got married, don't you think?"

"... What?" Russia did a double-take and noticed how she was looking at him in a very... odd way. He couldn't put his finger on it, but something about her expression appeared to be really intense – frighteningly so. Maybe it was the fact that she wasn't blinking. Whatever it was, it was very disconcerting.

"You must be hungry. I'll cook something for you," she said, still holding his hand and gently coaching him to accompany her to the kitchen.

Russia laughed, both out of happiness and out of relief. Oh, so that was it, he thought. She would cook for him as if she were his wife, so she thought it would be funny to refer to them as a couple. Silly Belarus. He'd never known Belarus had a sense of humour. It must have been America's influence.

oOo

"I-I don't know how to thank you, Bela," said Russia. He was now sitting at the table in the kitchen, patiently waiting while Belarus cooked. She made no response to his words, but he knew she was listening. "I'm so very glad you're here. I... I was beginning to feel a little lonely, you see," he admitted.

Belarus turned to face him, the motion so abrupt that Russia was a little startled. Her normally serious expression softened in what appeared to be compassion.

"It's okay, my brother. You'll never have to feel lonely again." She carefully held a steaming bowl and set it before him on the table. "Here, I made you some borscht."

"Th-thank you," he said. After a couple of spoonfuls, he looked up from the bowl and realised that Belarus was staring at him with that "intense" expression again. For some reason, it made him feel like an insect being scrutinized in a jar. "Mm, it's delicious!" he commented, assuming that was what she was expecting him to do. Yet, she didn't react at all, except maybe her normally pallid cheeks looked a little rosy for a moment.

The silence that followed was very awkward. Russia wasn't usually bothered by this kind of situation – in fact, he thought it was amusing to watch other people squirm – but this time the silence was oppressive even for him and Belarus' stare was really beginning to make him uncomfortable.

"Have you been alone all this time?" Belarus asked out of the blue, startling her brother yet again.

"A-ah, yes, since 1991," he replied, recovering quickly. His smile turned a little sad. "Everyone left for good. Everyone... Even Ukraine and Lithuania..."

Belarus clenched her jaw and, for a second, Russia thought he had seen something like a murderous glint in her icy eyes, but he was sure that had only been a trick of the light.

"Forget about them!" she said with feeling, leaning on the table as if she were about to give him the third degree. He knew she didn't mean to look so threatening, and yet he couldn't help but inch backwards. "Who needs them, anyway?!" Belarus went on, and it was weird how she was beginning to breathe heavily and how her face suddenly looked feverish. "I am here for you now, my brother! I will never leave your side again! I will never betray you! We will be together forever and ever and ever!"

A weak, nervous chuckle escaped Russia's lips. He sincerely appreciated the sentiment, but maybe Belarus' enthusiasm was a little over the top. And the way she was almost climbing on the table only added to that effect.

"Y-yes, Bela, y-you're right," he stammered and mentally frowned at himself. Why was he so nervous? This was only his cute little sister and, at the moment, his only friend. Nothing to be nervous about at all, right? "Thanks, Bela. You're so nice to me," he managed to say. Then, to distract himself from that relentless stare, he resumed his meal.

And promptly choked when something unexpectedly hard almost got lodged in his throat. He coughed and managed to spit the thing out. He blinked when he saw what it was.

A ring?

He looked up at Belarus, whose face was flushed red, then back at the ring. He tried not to think of how it looked like an engagement ring, because that would have been just ridiculous.

"Er... I think you dropped your ring in the borscht," he said. Because that made more sense; after all, the ring looked too large for Belarus' slender fingers, so it could have easily slipped off.

With a small, uneven smile, Belarus grabbed his wrist with one hand, and with her other hand she snatched the ring from him and took his glove off very slowly, almost seductively. (Russia mentally shook his head; his mind was playing unfunny tricks on him again.) Then, she slid the ring onto one of his fingers. She didn't seem to mind that the ring was still covered in borscht and saliva.

"There," she said, with a toothy, satisfied grin. "Now we can get married."

At that moment, Russia noted for the first time that Belarus was wearing an identical ring.

Russia looked back and forth between Belarus and the ring on his finger in growing dismay. Ever since they had been little, Belarus had told him she wanted to marry him when they grew up. It was a sort of in-joke between them, or so Russia had always thought. So, as he had always done in their childhood, he decided to humour her – especially since he had the feeling it wouldn't be wise to upset his sister right now.

"Oh, um, okay, Bela," he said, nodding. He almost regretted it when Belarus' gaze became even more... predatory. There was no other word for it. She looked like she was going to pounce on him at any given minute.

"At last," she said in a cavernous voice, shaking with barely suppressed emotion. At this point, Russia decided that she might be going a little too far with this joke. "Let's get married, married, married, married..."

"Um." Russia didn't know when he'd stood up and knocked over the chair, but he was on his feet now and Belarus was crawling over the table and this was decidedly not funny any more. "I-I have to go. Er. Th-thanks for the borscht. I'll – I'll see you later," he said, backing up slowly, and when he reached the door, he turned tail and ran.

She didn't follow him.

oOo

Fortunately, Belarus seemed to calm down after a few hours, and an entire week passed by uneventfully. Neither Russia nor Belarus spoke much, but it felt nice to just have some company. Belarus was now back to her timid, sweet self, so Russia welcomed her presence wholeheartedly. He hadn't felt this happy since 1991.

At least until Belarus approached him one nice evening, having spent the whole day out of sight, and roughly grabbed his wrist to glare at his bare hand.

"Where is your ring?" she asked in clipped tones.

"Huh?" Russia was taken aback. In truth, he had almost forgotten about the ring, so it took him a moment to figure out what she was talking about. "Oh, the ring. I, uh, took it off."

"Why?" she snarled.

Russia froze at her vicious tone and stared in confusion and disbelief. Why, she asked? Surely she didn't expect him to wear it all the time? After all, that had only been a joke, right?

However, looking at her very serious expression, Russia wasn't sure he wanted to voice his thoughts to his sister. Maybe he shouldn't have underestimated her gift – marriage joke or not, a gift was a gift. Regretting his insensitivity, he quickly came up with an excuse.

"Because... well... I just took a bath, you see, and I was afraid to lose the ring. I-it could've easily slipped off my finger and into the drain because of the soap, right? And that would've been a shame..." he felt as though he were babbling nonsense, but his feeble excuse seemed to placate Belarus.

"Oh, all right. Just don't forget to put it on again," she said sweetly. Then, her gaze locked on his scarf and she let go of his wrist in order to grip one of the trailing ends and pull it. "This damn scarf..." she muttered. "Why do you always wear it? And you never forget to put it on, either!"

He laughed and gently tried to pry her hands off his precious scarf, but she was stronger than anyone would give her credit for and he didn't want to force it, lest he hurt her.

"Ukraine gave it to me," he replied. "It was the first gift I ever received and—"

"It wasn't a gift, my brother!" hissed Belarus, tugging at the scarf forcefully again. "It was a bribe, so you would make Kiev prosper!"

"But—"

"You must be sick of wearing the same scarf all these years," she said, her features softening as she began to unwind the scarf with her one hand. The other, Russia finally noted, she had been keeping behind her back during the entire exchange so far.

"I do have other scarves, actually—" Russia tried to explain, but Belarus played deaf. He frantically tried – and failed – to stop her from robbing him of his most treasured possession.

"Here," she said lovingly and at last showed him what she had been hiding behind her back. It looked like a giant, bloody caterpillar. Russia could only stare. "I knitted it myself. Now you won't have to wear that old scarf any more, and even if I am not by your side myself, I will always be with you through this scarf."

"This is a scarf?!" Russia would have said, but even he wasn't that insane. He hesitantly took the gift between the tips of his fingers, still half-afraid it was actually some sort of dead animal.

"I know that's your favourite colour," Belarus added. "Dark red. The colour of blood. Red is such a beautiful colour, isn't it?"

Russia shuddered despite himself. He vaguely remembered saying those exact same words to Lithuania a long time ago. He wondered if he'd sounded as creepy as Belarus had just now.

"H-how thoughtful of you, Bela. It's... a very nice scarf... Thank you," he said as nicely as possible and tried to smile, but he felt too troubled. For one, he wouldn't be caught dead wearing this monstrosity, and besides, he was afraid of what Belarus was planning to do with his old, favourite scarf. What if she wanted to destroy it?

Thinking quickly, he bent down to give her a peck on the cheek. As expected, Belarus was surprised and relaxed her grip on the scarf. Russia took this chance to snatch it from her.

"Well... Now I have one from each sister!" he said as he backed away again. When Belarus moved to step forwards, Russia turned around and ran.

Again, she didn't follow him.

oOo

That night, both Russia and Belarus went to sleep much earlier than usual, so the house was in complete silence. If he didn't know better, Russia would have thought he was all alone again. It was rather disconcerting, because Belarus always went to bed very late and maybe Russia had grown too used to hearing some noise at night.

He was already half-asleep when he heard a soft thump. He jerked awake and waited to hear it again, but there was only silence. Figuring it had just been his imagination, he closed his eyes and lay back down.

THUMP.

He nearly jumped out of his skin. That had definitely not been his imagination!

Another moment of silence, and then there was the unmistakable sound of metal rasping on the floor at steady intervals.

Suddenly, the temperature in his bedroom dropped dramatically. Russia began to shiver.

The source of the strange sounds came closer and closer, until it was right before his door, and stopped.

"G-General Winter? Is that you?" Russia asked, reaching a shaking hand for his old tap next to his bed. When his hand only grabbed empty air, he felt a rush of panic. Where had it gone?!

The door opened with an ominous creak and Belarus' pale face glowed wanly in the moonlight that came in through the window. For some reason, Russia didn't feel as relieved as he thought he should at the sight of his little sister.

"Yes, Bela? Is something the matter?" he asked, his usual smile struggling to remain steady on his lips.

Without answering, Belarus just slammed the door shut behind her, making Russia flinch, and joined him in his bed. Russia froze. Oddly enough, the temperature had just dropped a little more.

"Wh-what—"

"I was thinking," Belarus said, seemingly oblivious to her brother's distress as she wrapped a cold arm around his torso and pulled him close. "It's only natural for us to sleep on the same bed."

"Is it?"

"Of course. There is no need to feel shy, my brother," she cooed, cuddling with him as if he were her beloved teddy bear. "We used to sleep together every night when we were little, remember? All three of us, so close together..."

Russia wanted to protest and say that that was different, but the words were stuck in his throat. He shivered when her fingertips trailed his chest, as light and cold as melting snow. He began to shiver again. Why was she doing this to him? Did she have any idea how weird and inappropriate this seemed?

"Are you cold?" she asked, taking note of his trembling, and nodded to herself. "I thought so. That's why I'm here. You'll sleep much better with my body next to yours to warm you up."

Again, he tried to protest that her body was actually colder than his. He couldn't help wondering if she had also made a pact with General Winter. However, nothing but a very small whimper escaped his lips, which made him want to die on the spot. This was mortifying on so many levels...

"Bela, please..." he moaned. Please stop this, he had meant to say, but his words only seemed to excite her even more. She began to stroke his chest with the palm of her hand rather than just her fingertips. "Bela..." Was it his imagination, or was her breathing getting a little heavy yet again? She really should get that checked out—

All thoughts were abruptly cut off when he felt her hand slide down his torso. He let out a dignified shriek and shielded his vital regions.

"What the hell are you doing?!"

"My brother, let us consummate our marriage."

"We're not married!"

"Yet."

"Stop it, Bela! This isn't funny—" He froze again when cold metal touched his thigh. Belarus was now leaning over him, pushing him down with one hand – she had grown really strong, it seemed – so Russia had to struggled a little to see what was down there. Oh, so there was where his tap had gone...

"You know, dear brother," whispered Belarus, stroking his face gently with one hand and the pipe with the other. "I always wondered what your lovely face would look like if I shoved this up your—"

"STOP!" Russia covered his ears so he wouldn't hear the rest of her probably unfortunate sentence, but it was rather pointless, as she was already beginning to lower his underwear. In a rush of panic, he finally managed to throw her off. Before she could recover from the shove, Russia stumbled off the bed and ran to barricade himself in the bathroom, where he spent the rest of the night shivering non-stop and vainly trying to sleep.

Thankfully, she didn't come after him.

oOo

Sheesh! Belarus sure has been acting really odd lately, Russia thought the next day as he warily watched Belarus prepare lunch. One second she would be her normal self, the cute little sister who quietly kept him company and made him meals; the next, she would start saying those unfunny jokes about marriage again. Couldn't she tell he wasn't in the mood for it? Besides, last night she had gone too far. She needed to learn boundaries.

Fortunately, there was no ring in his food this time around and she made no mention of anything remotely related to marriage.

"How about we go to the theatre?" she suggested as they finished eating lunch.

"Sorry, I have work to do today. Let's go some other day, okay?" he replied, with an apologetic smile.

She looked a little upset, and Russia honestly felt bad, but there was nothing he could do. He really did have work to do. He avoided meeting her eyes, because he didn't want to admit he was a little disturbed by them. He quickly left the kitchen and began to head to his office upstairs.

"Wait," she ordered – not asked, ordered – with a voice that could have made even General Winter freeze. Russia's body automatically stopped and turned to face her. "I have been very patient," she said. "I have been trying to hold back and give you time, give you space. But I am tired of waiting. I have waited long enough." With every word, her voice raised in volume more and more, until she was shouting at the top of her lungs. "We are going to get married here and now, my brother!"

It was at that moment that Russia realised Belarus wasn't joking at all. She was dead serious. He could tell by looking at her face.

Russia had lived a very long life, compared to humans, and seen many things. Mostly horrible things. More horrible things than any other nation, in fact. He had seen bloodthirsty killers, sadistic psychopaths, and insatiable rapists. He had seen their faces at their worst. And Belarus' face, right now, looked like a perfect combination of all three of those.

Russia wasn't one to feel fear – not in a long time. These days, he was the one who inspired fear in others. After the horrors of his past, nothing much could faze him any more.

But that face...

He had never felt as afraid as now, gazing at that bone-chilling face. This hellish sight made him certain one of simple thing.

He was going to die.

Slowly. Painfully. And, judging by the deep lust in her eyes, looking so foreign on her otherwise innocent face, he would probably get violated in the process, as well.

"B-B-Belarus..." he stammered, as he now shook as badly as Latvia, and tried to back away as inconspicuously as possible. "I-I'm sorry, b-but I have work to d-do... I'll be b-busy all n-night and—" he didn't bother finishing the sentence. When Belarus' fingers twitched, Russia abandoned all pretence of blissful obliviousness and ran. The plan was to lock himself up in his office until Belarus' bout of insanity passed. That had worked well enough the previous times.

"I won't let you go this time, Brother!" screeched Belarus, hot on his heels.

Russia shrieked in fright when he realised that, unlike the previous times, she had indeed decided to follow.

"Noooo! Get away from meeee!"

Fortunately, he managed to reach his office and lock the door before Belarus caught up with him. As soon as the door lock clicked, Belarus slammed against the door like a furious beast. Without really thinking, Russia knocked his desk sideways as a sort of barricade and curled up behind it, tears streaming down his sickly pale face. He tried to get a hold of himself, but his shaking only worsened when he heard Belarus hammer on the door and demand that he open the door so they could get married at once. When she began to scratch the door with her sharp nails, he cringed, both at the horrible sound and at the thought that she just might literally tear the door open.

He really was going to die. There was no way out of this office, nor was there anyone to help him. Even if they knew he was in danger, they wouldn't risk their lives to save Russia. Everyone hated him, after all.

He began to cry harder.

When it sounded like Belarus was cursing the doorknob for being in the way, Russia risked a peek at the door just in time to see his little sister ripping the knob off the door like it was nothing. Things quickly went downhill from there. A previously all-too-silent house went the rest of the night at the sound of Russia's desperate cries for Belarus to have mercy and go away and Belarus' "married married married married" chanting.

oOo

By some miracle, Russia came out alive and mostly unharmed – his dignity had suffered the most damage. His memories from that night were rather fuzzy, though. He remembered trying to get his gun, which he kept in one of the drawers of his desk. Of course, he'd had no intention of hurting his little sister, insane or not, so he'd considered pulling the trigger on himself to avoid a slower, agonizing death. Then again, by killing himself he would be killing millions of his own people, and even he felt that wasn't quite right.

He didn't quite remember what happened after discarding the suicide route. He had some vague recollections of getting his pipe, standing up to face Belarus, and throwing himself out of the window. When he came to, he was in his bed, feeling very cold and a little sore but otherwise all right, and Belarus was sitting by his bed, dozing off. He could almost believe it had all been a freaky nightmare.

His guess was that he had sort of snapped, as he had often done during the Soviet era, and hit his sister with his tap, knocking her unconscious, before he tried to escape through the window – which, in retrospect, had been a stupid idea, since his office was on the second floor and, if Belarus was already unconscious, why not just escape through the door? But then, reason and common sense tended to leave him when he snapped like that, he admitted.

For a moment, he worried that he'd inadvertently hurt his sister, but she seemed all right, as well. Despite her fragile appearance, she was really tough, just like her brother. He then wondered how he had ended up in his bed. Had Belarus actually carried him inside and up the stairs? Had she been watching over him all this time? Had she just watched or done something more? He quickly decided against following that train of thought. He figured he was probably better off not knowing what she had done with him while he'd been out cold.

However, he now almost wished he had died that night, because living with Belarus was turning out to be the most nerve-racking experience he had ever had. Her sanity seemed to be deteriorating with each passing day, she kept following him everywhere (even in the bath), and Russia didn't know how long he could keep avoiding her and her crazy marriage proposals.

He tried calling Ukraine for help, but her only reply was, "I'm sorry, Russia, but my boss still won't let me come to your house! Please take good care of Bela! Goodbyyyyyyye!" punctuated by a loud sob.

Russia almost broke down again. He loved his sisters, really, but why did they have to be so weird?

On a related note, what had happened to Belarus? She had always been such a sweet girl, so how come she had turned into this scary, marriage-crazed creature? Granted, she had always talked about marriage, but she'd never been serious about it. This insanity had only started very recently – ever since she had come from America's house.

Ah.

He and his old rival needed to have a little chat, he thought.

oOo

America slurped on his coke noisily and loitered around the cafeteria, watching as the other nations talked and fought and molested each other. It was their break from a meeting and no one wanted to talk to him at the moment; they claimed it was impossible to understand him when he was eating or drinking. America didn't see why. He spoke the same language, regardless of whether he was eating or not.

A heavy hand clamped down on his shoulder, making him nearly choke. At last, someone had approached him, though America hadn't really expected him to be the one to do so. Recovering his composure, America turned to look at him, even though he already knew who it was. The guy looked a little haggard and tired, but America guessed it was to be expected, after the fall of the USSR.

"'Sup, Russia?" he said nonchalantly, lips around the straw.

"America," Russia attempted to give him that trademark childish smile, but it didn't work. "You're so mean." The tone did, though, and it grated on America's nerves.

"What, me? Mean? No way, man, I'm the total of opposite of mean. I'm right—urk," America was cut off when the paw on his shoulder gripped it a little too tightly.

"Using my little sister to get at me..." rumbled Russia, a mock-sad tone colouring his voice. "That's low even for you, America."

"The hell are you talkin' about?!" America demanded to know while shaking Russia's hand off and turning to face him. "If this is another of your little games..."

However, to America's surprise, it didn't look like Russia was amused at all. He couldn't even keep up that child-like, innocent façade any longer.

"I'm the one who should be saying that!" replied Russia irritably. "The Cold War is long over, America. You won! So why can't you leave me and my family alone?!"

"I still have no idea what you're talking about!" America shouted, frustrated with the other nation's paranoia – which, in turn, was beginning to make him paranoid as well. Just what was Russia trying to accomplish with these insane accusations? Was this some kind of trick? "I haven't done anything to you! Or to your sisters! Why won't you leave me alone, dammit?!"

"Don't you dare deny it," said Russia, a hint of insanity creeping into his eyes. Any other nation would have either fainted or run away at the sight, but America wasn't fazed at all and only returned it with a defiant glare of his own. "I know you brainwashed my little sister while she was living with you so you'd get back at me through her."

America raised his free hand in a placating gesture. "Now, look, it's not my fault if she's taken a liking to hamburgers. They're really just that good, and if only you'd give them a try, you'd see that—"

"Don't play dumb!" hissed Russia, his creepy, insane grin now back full force on his ghostly face. Still, America wasn't scared. Really, he wasn't. Not at all. "You turned her into some... psychotic, marriage-obsessed stalker!"

"What?" It took America a moment to process Russia's words, and then he just had to laugh, because it was somewhat ironic to hear those words from Russia of all nations. "You mean you didn't know?!" he asked before having another laughing fit. "Oh, man, and they call me clueless!"

"Explain yourself, America," demanded Russia darkly.

"Belarus has always been like that. Everyone knows that. I guess you were just too insane yourself to notice it."

Russia opened his mouth to argue back, but the words died before they could get out when Belarus' voice made itself heard above the cacophony in the cafeteria. Both nations froze and looked on in horror as she made her way towards them with her dull chanting, "Let's get married, married, married, married, married..."

Drinking from the straw again to relax, America watched as Russia ran away and Belarus chased after him. The scene brought on unpleasant flashbacks from the time when Belarus had been living in his house. For a brief period, she had had a bit of crush on him, so he knew all too well what it was like to be the target of her affections. It had cost him a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get rid of her and send her back to Russia.

He almost felt sorry for Russia. Almost.

Wait, was... was Russia crying?!

All right, so maybe he did feel slightly sorry for him. Maybe he should go and save him. That would be the heroic, American thing to do, right?

He took another look at Belarus' face and shuddered. Nah, he decided. Belarus is just too scary!

The End