Authors Note:
This was actually for a contest on DA, and luckily the prompt was vauge enough to allow any pairings, so I chose one of my favorite ones, Russiax America.
It was originally going to be much longer, but I decided it was getting much too long for being a simple contest entry, so as you read if you find it goes from very details to rushing past things, I apologize in advance.
A few little notes. Later on it mentions " Table turning". I was reading up on more old fashioned table manners, and it mentioned how at social outings where you didn't know many people, you normally would first speak to the person on your left, and then on your right. For a time it became common for the hosts or someone to shout out when one would switch who they were talking to and to engage the person on your opposite side, and if you ignored that call and continued to talk with only one person, it normally left at least two people without someone to converse with, and it was considered very rude.
Also, the song that is near the end of the bottom is "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer. I actually have the whole scene where they dance playing out in my head every time I listen to it now. And I know I cut off the last repeated chorus at the end. I just didn't want to drag it out any longer.
And that " Girl in the red cocktail dress" was Hungary. xD
I am sorry this is a lonn authors note, there were just a few things I needed to clear up because they are rather obscure facts.
Approximately 3,646 words.
Feed the starving writer reviews please.

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It was weird, Ivan never got letters. Not unless it was a war. But when Ivan went out to check the mailbox like every morning, there was actually a letter sitting in the rusty box. Walking back inside to the Victorian style house he sat down with tiny envelope, studying it closely. It had golden patterns all over it, and on the front in elegant cursive was his name. He was confused, this was so nice. Abnormally nice for what he normally got in the mail. Slowly he opened it, trying not to ruin the nice envelope, and soon pulled out a thin piece of paper that matched its envelope. The same curvy, elegant writing was written on the inside, and he began to read.

Dear Mr. Ivan Braginski,

You are formally invited to a dinner masquerade on July the twenty fifth. Come to the Red Lantern Hotel at Five PM, and dinner will be served at six before our main event.

Do not mention this to the other countries, none of the other countries are invited and we do not want to make a fuss.

Come dressed formally, wearing an animal mask of your choice.

~The Host

It was vague, it was dangerous, and he was going.

"Will you be okay tonight Toris?" Ivan touched up himself, slipping the velvet mask under his suit and set his top hat on his head. He gently felt over his clothes to where the only slightly noticeable lumps from his scarf were, smiling at the proof it was there.

"Y-yes Sir. I have somewhere to go tonight. I hope you have a good time at the meeting you go to, you look quite nice tonight." Lithuania tried to smile at him nervously, he really was all dressed up nice. He had his nice shirt and coattails on and a top hat and his cuffs. He also had many other little things that sparkled and shined, very old fashioned but very elegant. You wouldn't think him as the Russia that tortured them.

"Well then get on and go." He watched the other give him a twitch of a smile before scurrying off to do whatever he was to do with his siblings. Well he assumed with his siblings anyway, they were all going out tonight just like him. Not very surprising though sense it was Friday, and if Estonia went out, Latvia fallowed, and if Russia went out Lithuania never stuck around long after.

Ivan sighed, blue eyes checking himself one last time before he headed through the house to his awaiting ride to the indicated hotel. He only stopped at the door to pluck a flower out of a vase thoughtfully. It was one of the sunflowers Alfred had given him a few days before. He smiled, and attached the flower to his top hat, giving himself one bright burst of color on his otherwise mysterious figure. With that he left, watching the setting sun through the window whilst his mind wondered what this evening would bring.

As he approached the hotel, he took out his mask. It was of a jaguar. It wasn't his first choice, but he hadn't wanted to pick something too obvious, so he had looked through a picture dictionary of animals until he found something that he liked. Thinking back on that, it was probably a stupid idea, because he didn't even know what the animal was like, he was just going off the picture. He didn't have much more time to think about it though, as he soon found that movement had ceased, and he was in front of a grand red and golden hotel.

Stepping out onto the pavement and slipping on the mask, he realized how small he felt in front of the glowing building. That was something rare for Ivan to feel, but it was hard not to in front of such a grand place. The main building was shaped like a long cylindrical paper lantern, tilted back into a diagonal. It seemed to be made out of rice paper, though it obviously wasn't, and it glowed with light from the many rooms inside of it. It was like a dream.

Ivan stood on the curb a moment, pondering how such a heavy building could stand at such a tilt, but upon further examination, the small circular lantern buildings that shimmered around it had supports to hold it up, and there was probably some other means of support in the back. He would have continued to ponder this further still, but he had somewhere to be, so he began to manage his way through the sparkling garden that decorated the front of the hotel to the entrance where he was greeted by a boisterous voice.

"Welcome!" there was a fairly decent sized group of people out front, all of them wearing some sort of animal mask like him. He assumed they were a part of the party then. He turned his attention back to the voice though. "Welcome you all! I have to thank you for joining me tonight for an exciting evening of games, music, and food. Dinner will be served within the hour, so enjoy yourselves! Mingle! And get ready for quite the display tonight!" and with that the cloaked man turned, pushing open the doors to let his guests in.

Ivan stood at the back of the crowd watching as the group slowly filtered in. His eyes studied the people from behind the mask, falling on each person and taking them in before losing sight and going to the next. They all seemed familiar in a weird way, but he didn't think these people could be who he thought. Anyway the letter said the other countries weren't invited.

Soon he found he was left out in the courtyard, his only companions the little children out in the garden who were flying kites in the evening light. As it grew darker it could be seen that the children were tying very light paper lamps to the strings of the kite and letting it out, and they glowed like the stars that had yet to come out. His mind was distracted from all his musings though, when a young man who had been watching him curiously from the door for at least a half hour came out to see what he was up to.

" Sir?" this guest wore a fox mask, and big blue eyes looked up at him from behind it. "Aren't you going to come in and join the party?" Ivan looked down at him for a moment, his fake smile softening at the nervous voice that accompanied the loud outfit. It was bright orange, accented by black in the tie, gloves and shoes. It almost seemed like something his friend America would wear, but this blonde haired young man was too tame to be him.

" Sir?" he was snapped out of his thoughts again by the same young man who had before, and he nearly laughed at himself for thinking but not actually doing anything, and scolding himself once more he finally addressed his companion.

"Ah, I am sorry. Sure, let's go in." he gave the other a soft smile and the other beamed happily back, fallowing Ivan into the hotel's lobby where everyone had gathered.

The front of the hotel was huge, and decorated just as lavishly as the outside in the oriental flavor. Several of the guests seemed accustomed to it, and shooed the more westernized guests to one side of the lobby where one table sat, while they inhabited the other side. Russia habitually walked over to the busier side, settling himself in a corner as his norm, but soon he found that he wasn't alone. The young man who had fetched him had fallowed him and was standing in front of him.

"So what are you supposed to be?" he inquired after a minute, "I was thinking a jaguar, but I would hate to jump to conclusions and be wrong…" Ivan watched as the other's blonde hair, which had been smoothed down to look neater, began to pop up strand by strand.

"Yah, I am a jaguar." He nodded and smiled, before noting that he was smiling a lot more than usual this evening. It didn't really matter to him though. "You are a fox?" The yellow haired man nodded with a grin, but before their painfully slow yet relaxed conversation could continue, a bell was being rung and dinner was being announced. Had he really spent that much time just standing out front? He assumed because although he and his guests conversation had been slow paced, he had not been talking to him for an hour, of that he was sure. He soon found that the host was talking again and decided to listen.

"- cards are on your plate, and on the card is a small golden symbol that would match your mask. That will be your seat. Do not sit in any other person's seat, because I placed you exactly where I meant enough of that, enjoy your feast!" he turned and threw open the doors once more, and people excitedly started to fill in the hall. He would have stood their thinking again, but soon he found that his companion was tugging on his sleeve.

"Come on, let's find our seats." The smaller man began to lead him through the mess of a crowd, and he couldn't help but smile at his polite persistence. It was almost cute. After several minutes of searching, mostly on the other's part, he was stopped and his arm was released. "Here is my seat! And look, yours is right here!" there was that charmingly shy grin that he was growing fond of.

"Ah yes." Ivan smiled, "Here is my card." he picked up the card that had the ever familiar curly golden writing on it, and as promised, there was a small symbol of the jaguar mask. The host was sure quick and efficient about his work, because it seemed each card was handmade, and Ivan was sure that he didn't know what any of the guest's masks until they had arrived. He glanced at the curious looking man who sat at the head of the table, engaging the young man to his left in an animated conversation, and sat down, deciding to do the same.

" So what do you think that main event will be?" he had hardly turned to his friend when the doors burst open, surprising the people who had just sat down into standing back up, and those who were still standing to quickly find and throw themselves into their seats. Ivan was momentarily distracted, amazed at the many cultural dishes that spilled out, and soon the vast amounts of food were set on the table in front of them.

"I will thank you all for joining me one more time," the voice of the host rang through the large hall. "And now enjoy dinner!" he clapped and everyone began serving themselves; even Ivan helping himself to the delicious food.

Throughout the dinner he and the fox beside him had a wonderful conversation, and even though the host called several times for the tables to turn in the old fashioned manner, they continued to talk. Russia had never felt so thrilled, but once again he found that he had distracted himself, this time from dinner though, and he wasn't even nearly done with his first serving of food when the host called out for the meal to at least be put on hold while they started the main event. The young Fox man, who had not stopped eating their whole conversation, didn't stop eating while he listened, and grabbed another burger from a platter before standing up with the others and moving back against one of the walls. The servants came back out and pushed the long table to one side, and the games began, literally.

The whole group found themselves playing things from stupid children's games to serious card games. Each guest had a partner of their choice,( and it seemed everyone had paired off nicely, and no one was dissatisfied with their partner) and they won points for their team. Ivan had paired off with the Fox, and though they weren't losing, they were not close to winning either.

The last game came around and the food was thoroughly forgotten. Everyone was absorbed in what they were doing, and as stupid as it sounded, everyone had been in a giant rock paper scissors marathon. Now there were two people left, and Ivan was slightly displeased to find one of them was himself, and the other a blonde haired gentleman decked out in all sorts of girlish feathers and fluffs, which made him look not only like a woman, but like a bird. That didn't matter though, as before they could start, loud music blasted from a stage that had not previously been there.

The host stood at the microphone with a sly grin. "Let us say for the sake of time, that you both win. We are drawing near the end of this grand night, and we must continue with the last event. Pair up with your partners because now you will all be dancing! This one is worth the most points, and if you are in last it can bring you up into the top five, and if you are in the middle you could even go up to first! Everyone dance your best!"

There were gasps, moans, and random clapping, but it didn't last, because the guitarist of the band struck up the first cords, and everyone dashed to their partners to not miss a beat as the singer began.

Kiss me, out of the bearded barely,

Lightly, beside the green, green grass.

Swing, swing, swing the spinning step,

You wear the shoes and I will wear that dress…

Ivan took lead quickly, finally finding a reason not to regret stealing Toris's CD's. He knew this song and he knew what would be best to dance to it. He was surprised when he looked down to the young man though, finding a light blush sprinkled across his pale cheeks as he mouthed the words, pointed to him with a shy grin before pointing to a young girl in a red cocktail dress. This made Ivan blush, though he didn't miss a beat, swinging him into an elegant twirl.

Kiss me, beneath the milky twilight

Lead me, out on the moonlit floor

Lift your open hand, strike up the band

And make fireflies dance silver moon sparkling…

Ivan managed to bring them around to the large windows where the moon shone through, leading him quickly along in a mixture of an original ballroom dance and modern free lance. As the lyrics suggested, he lifted a free hand and waved it, watching the young man giggle as he barely managed to keep up.

So kiss me.

He didn't notice the approving looks he was getting from the host, and the envious ones he was getting from the other guests, he was so absorbed in enjoying the dance at this point. He had never felt so affectionately towards a person so quickly, he had never felt so happy, he never thought dancing could be so heavenly.

Kiss me, down by the broken tree house

Swing me, on its hanging tire

Bring, bring, bring your flowered hat

We'll take the trail marked on your father's map…

Ivan carefully lead them in a ring outside of the dance floor, only faltering a bit when the young man's hand found his way up to his top hat at the bit about the flowered hat, and he blushed and chuckled as he realized he seemed he was falling into a love story via song. No one would ever guess if he told them.

Kiss me, beneath the milky twilight

Lead me, out on the moonlit floor

Lift your open hand, strike up the band

And make fireflies dance silver moon sparkling…

He repeated what he did before, leading him back under the window's the opposite side, and flourishing his hands to mimic the lyrics.

So Kiss me.

Ivan spun the young man, dipping him, before continuing, knowing the song didn't just stop at that. He danced as the music played, and when it drew to a close, he dipped his partner one more time, leaning in close to him…

So Kiss me.

Their lips met for just a second before it ended, and as the music faded away, it left the room in complete silence, each guest either preoccupied solely with their partner, or shooting confident glares at others. The silence would probably not have been broken and the night would have ended with everyone leaving with that if it hadn't been for the host who began clapping.

"You all did extraordinarily well! I have not seen people bond so fast, and dance with so much passion! A truly amazing end to tonight! I know exactly who has won though!" he let go of the hand of the sleepy young man who had decided not to dance, but to sit with him, and he walked out onto the dance floor. He walked through the crowd, pointing to each couple that he chose to be one of the winning five, and pointing to the stage. Ivan was surprised when they had been chosen, but went up to the stage.

"First, you may all take off your masks!" the host lead the way by taking off his mask first, and no one was really surprised to see Turkey, the original masked man himself and party expert behind the mask. As everyone else took off their masks though, there were surprised gasps everywhere. Ivan refrained from taking off his mask just yet, watching as pair after odd pair kept popping up.

The bird man-lady from before ended up to be France, and he found himself with England who had been in disguise of a rabbit much like the one from Alice in Wonderland. His pet, Lithuania, had dressed up as a wolf, and found himself with Germany, who had been a cat. The Italys found themselves together, Denmark found that he was being lead by Norway, Spain found himself with Prussia. It was just a weird site all together because these people seemed to know each other so well, but they couldn't even recognize their friend behind a mask.

Ivan finally sighed and turned to face the young man he would have to answer to, and found blue eyes staring patiently up at him.

"You go first." The voice owned by the blue eyes said nervously. Ivan smiled and complied, and he got a small gasp and a blush from the other. When there was no explanation or removal of the mask to fallow though, Ivan gently let his large hands find their way to the obnoxiously orange mask, removing it gently.

"Hello Alfred." He said softly, smiling. He was surprised, he had been slowly convinced throughout the evening that this was not the man he had crushed on for months; he had managed to force himself to believe it couldn't be. He was too soft, too nervous, to quiet and polite. "I didn't recognize you."

"Me either Ivan." He replied, the blush not having faded. "You acted so different tonight… so much more… open… I didn't think…."

"I didn't think either…." He was going to continue, but soon his wrist was grabbed, as well as the wrist of Alfred and their hands were listed into the air.

"These two won first place!" Turkey grinned, presenting the first place champions "For advancing farthest with each other throughout the evening, understanding the meaning of this whole ordeal, and generally amazing passion, love for each other, and great dancing!" he went on to announce the order of the other's placing, and bid everyone farewell, and as Ivan and Alfred left smiling, hand in hand, they were stopped by a group of countries.

"What was the meaning of tonight guys? We don't get it." Finland had been pushed forward to talk, and after he said that, there was a generally murmur of agreement.

Ivan smiled, looking down at Alfred who just nodded, and everyone was surprised when it was Ivan instead of the normally talkative America answering.

"Sometimes it takes a mask to come out from behind your mask."