Ok, second Hetalia fic for the win. Now, I've actually started getting really into the whole communities for Hetalia on LJ, and I started noticing these ones for France and Russia. I tend to ship Canada and Russia [hence my first story], but I thought "Well, Canada is part French, so maybe it works". And I went and did some in depth research and found that there's a relatively good relationship between France and Russia as well [if we totally ignore Napoleon here…] That pretty much made this pairing complete for me.

France is a bit out of character; I take him too seriously. I blame the kink-meme. All the anons fault.

This was mostly inspired by my love for crazy-but-not-so-crazy Russia, and how I was downloading all these songs from my Youth Group worship team because I absolutely adore the lyrics. And this story off the kink-meme, called Sanctuaire [second fill, prompt of architecture via St. Basil or Notre Dame]. But remember kids, it's for adults only. There was also a picture which was brought into the last paragraph, which has also become my desktop screen, done by the marvelous Sayano on Photobucket, not DA [took me an hour to realize that…page two when you type in france russia, no more no less].

Title is from Psalm 23:1-6; The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want…etc, etc.

I do not own Hetalia, in case that needs to be said. Please be kind! I do hope that it is enjoyable.


Everyone needs compassion

A love that's never fading

Let mercy fall on me

Everyone needs forgiveness

The kindness of a savior

The hope of nations…

I am a well-known man of promiscuity, with my exaggerated flirtations and dramatic flair. I am loud and theatrical, and I enjoy making others hot and bothered by my extraordinary magnificence. It is a talent I proudly exhibit, in flashy and gaudy style that only I can pull off.

No one mentions how I ignore a few of my fellow nations in my act. It is not because I do not wish for them to participate - non. In fact, I am sure that if I ever tried my hand at wooing young Matthew, he would surely blush and stutter, but give strong retaliation - two can play at my game. But I do not wish to degrade the ones I cherish. For that is what my game is - playing the fool, luring others into a trap of humiliation that revels in shameful acts, leading to realizations of mortification. How easy it is to bed someone, to dominate and tear apart another's innocence, to rip an act of beauty into pieces. It is not love that I participate in, after all, but meaningless animal instinct.

How terrible I am, to enjoy their expression of horror when they see that it is all for nothing…

My dearest Matthew is only one of a handful of people I do not seek out in such a way. Many pass this off to his invisibility, to his behind-the-scenes nature of hiding in shadows. Many do not notice that I do have civilized conversation with him during meals, that I am one of a handful who do not forget who he is. Non, my darling Canadian is very insightful, and sees my behavior as it is. In fact, he is the one I am indebted to, for explaining the different intentions in my indecent ways towards others, to Arthur and Alfred.

When it comes to those two, such idiots who cannot see past their own selves, I resign my techniques to the motivation of annoyance and teasing. They are not necessarily people I believe myself to be better than, therefore I do not see reason in demeaning them in such a fashion. It is undignified to use salacious acts of wanton passion to corrupt those who are like family. However, I find that using scandalous performances is quite an amusing way to irritate them - and what is family for, if not to bother each other? We know that it is mere 'joshing', as the American likes to put it - for if ever any of us was in need, we would push such insignificant things behind us to help the other. I ponder sometimes that perhaps these petty arguments even cement our relationships, strengthening them with every pass and joke.

I do not tease the South Korean man; we have an understanding of sorts, albeit our polar opposite objectives. He will only grope and seduce his fellow Asian nations, because they are the ones he is closest to. Whether or not they have come to understand that this is how the young man expresses his affection, I do not know. At times he looks down on me for my perversion of twisting what should be considered a closeness, the melding of two into one. There was a point in time where he accused me of being just as malicious and harsh as the Russian man everyone is so terrified of.

Ah, he is one I do not try and seduce either. But this is not because I am afraid of him, as everyone else is.

Tall and unbending, like an ancient oak, able to withstand the torments of violent weather, able to withstand the suffering of cruel time. That is who Ivan was, a being who persevered and endured. And so much pain he had pushed through. In his blinded agony, he had also pushed others away. But he had never abandon them - loyal to the end, sacrificing everything to protect the ones he loved, no matter what the cost. To them or to himself. Yet despite trying so very hard to hold on, they slipped from his clinging grasp. He was alone.

I see nothing frightening about the man, to be quite honest. Of course, his intimidating bulk may be one thing; his childlike smile is a cold façade, an unnerving mask; he says things that perhaps should not be said in proper company. Although his awkward personality may border on disturbing, creepy if I were to be blunt, it is far from anything fearsome.

Do not get me wrong; I have noticed the Baltic brothers. I see how Raivis will tremble when he steps in a room. I have heard the whispers of scars that mark Toris' shoulders. Estonia has vaguely hinted at the tantrums Ivan will throw in desperation - why the genius blonde has a tendency to skitter into a corner when others argue violently. Yet, I have also noticed how none of them blame the Russian - to them, it is a pitiful ill-fated series of circumstances. They may be afraid of what Ivan is capable of, but they sympathize for him and what he has gone through.

His madness is something I can comprehend. All history is, after all, is one series of unfortunate events after another. One's mind will snap at some point. The question is whether or not one can be pulled out of the darkness. In this world, one will sink or swim in the darkness of human nature.

I will make sure that he learns how to swim.

Amazing grace

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch

Like me

I once was lost

But now am found

Was blind but now

I see…

We all walk the paths of the earth in search of a faith. We all grope in the blackness of humanity's cruelty in hope of finding a helping hand. We stumble and fall and continue onward, moving forward. There is always shadow in light, and a light in the darkness. They cannot live without each other.

down down down we fall faster faster faster never stopping spiraling into the sea of pain agony suffering heat so hot it become a numbing cold as fear tears claws rips into our hearts beating thump thump thump

Trudging into the unknown blindly.

We hope that our decisions will lead us down a brighter path. We try so very hard not to make mistakes. We do not wish to hurt others around us. But you cannot please the world. You cannot always make the right choices. Sometimes, there is no right way, but only one way.

tears falling like rain wet wet wet water sadness despair washing up like the tide pulls outward drifting further away away away goodbye sinking slowly down down down into the dark blackness of no no no

Reaching out for saving grace.

But no one understood, never.

Don't you dare speak badly of me. You know nothing of what has happened. You weren't there when I was torn apart war after bloody war. I tore myself apart for my people, for the nations under my care. You weren't there when my children were murdered in cold blood. The children – they killed the little girl, the little boy. Innocent children who had done nothing wrong. Can you see them? They linger here, watching just around the corner. They play tricks on us, teasing us. Can you hear them? I can still see their tiny, fragile bodies painted red. I can hear them crying, so very frightened. But they shot them; mercilessly. You weren't there to pick up the pieces of a broken country. You weren't there to see the desperate, broken faces of revolution. Always stuck on repeat, over and over and over again.

It never changes.

"What do you think?" Ivan blinked dully, turning towards the vibrant voice. Francis smirked, leaning casually towards him, chin propped on his and, elbow bent against the table.


"Arthur and Alfred are bickering on whether or not Prussia should be at the world conference - whether or not he rightfully exists. Darling Matthew is defending him - apparently, there's a little town of New Prussia in one of his provinces. If your nation were to disappear, would you stay, like poor Gilbert? Or would you move on, like Roma?"

Francis gazed at the group at the head of the table, still fighting over 'rules' and 'rights'. A strange expression ghosted across his face - a true, deep pondering, like one of his famous philosophers. Ivan stared at the table, tracing the curves of the wood with his finger. He plastered his childish smile to his face, giving a sing-song answer.

"I do not think I would wish to stay. I do not wish to see any more suffering. Living is already painful enough. After everything that has happened…I would wish to fade away, peacefully. That would be much better. For everyone."

He refused to look to the other end of the table, knowing full well he would see the happiness of freedom and love between his newly independent nations, knowing he still wouldn't be able to handle the epiphany of absolute loneliness that stalked him. It was a curse, a shadow forever haunting him.

"Ah, I do not know. There is much beauty in the paradox of this world. There is rain and sun, there is night and day. There is death and life. It is all so glorious, non? It is very hard to chose when you have no choice. One cannot exist without the other." A brilliant smile was flashed his way. "That is what brings hope for our people, non? That for every moment of sadness is an equal moment of happiness. It is so very magnifique."

The Russian said nothing. He merely stared in awe at this man before him. The blonde nodded solemnly, suddenly standing in a whirlwind of motion as he yanked Ivan out of his chair, pulling him out of the room and down the hall.

"This meeting is unimportant. I have decided that we must renew our long lasting friendship! Stable it has been, but it is getting rather dusty with neglect. And it is blasphemy to neglect something so beautiful! So onward we shall go."

It was odd that Francis was not being overly salacious in his attempts to bed him, Ivan remarked in his mind. Perhaps this was a new twist to his game, something innovative he wished to try? How did the blonde man put it - avant garde? The Russian did not know what to do, for he had never taken part in the flirtations and drama of being seduced by Francis. Was he supposed to go first?

"You could always become one with Russia, da?" The French man stopped, frowning at the clear blue sky above them.

"If I wanted that, mon ami, I wouldn't have left the conference room," he stated slyly, a smirk flashing across his face. A coy smile that didn't match his wolfish eyes and lewd stance. "Unless that is what you wish? … Hahaha! Non, non. I do not wish to use you like that - it is very disgraceful. And I happen to like you, so that will not do. I shall just have to spoil you silly! Now, there is a gorgeous boutique this way…"

Francis was caught into a stumbling halt when he tried to drag the taller man off, turning with a raised eyebrow in confusion.

"I do not understand," Ivan stated, those four words demanding an explanation. He rolled his eyes in exasperation, waving his hand in a wild motion of disregard.

"That is the point. You do not need to understand the powers of amour! Now, you seem to me to be very disheartened, so I am here to cheer you up. This is what friends do, non? So smile and allow me to lead you to something marvelous! Though, I am quite marvelous enough myself, if I do say…"

The man babbled on about how wonderful he was, with his vast knowledge of all things pretty and romantic, and how this terrible city in England was worthless trash and tediously bland compared to his astonishing city of Paris. The city of love, he exclaimed loudly, hauling the Russian into an expensive department store.

Ivan paid no heed to the prattling gibberish being spoken, consumed by the warmth that flickered within him as a smile graced his lips, his eyes alight with a renewed flame of joy that had been sparked to life…

Sin had left a crimson stain

He washed it white as snow

"General Winter has come again."

"Da. He is…"

"Like death."

"We do not speak of such things in my country. It is - taboo."

"There are many things one should not speak of in proper company. But I tend to be a bit - radical in my ways." A light smile tugged at the taller mans lips. The two continued their leisurely walk through the snow covered streets of Moscow. His mind reeled, for death covered the streets of his precious city.

They stopped as Ivan shuddered, shoulders hunched and eyes shut tightly against the sudden onslaught of memories.

There was a horrible madness burning deep deep within rising as it flickered against the pitch black of his soul like smoke curling upwards to the dark night skies spiraling as it ascended up up up whirling faster and faster like a carousel filled with laughter and smiles that mocked the living as they passed him by in mirrors with shadowed eyes that gazed with judgment and loathing hatred that left him as cold as the winter snows that tormented him by lashing out and stinging his face with their frigid ice that seeped into the core of his very being slipping through cracks and filling empty voids with their frost even though it was so soft and fluffy and such a pure pristine white like lace or the innocence of children now stained crimson as the soldier's blood oozed into the ground and the bright yellow sunflowers of such warmth and happiness were feasting upon the life of his fallen comrades as they screamed in agony with their eyes flashing in terror and their mouths slit open like their bodies that were flung in warped metaphors with their limbs splayed wide in shredded mangled bits that splattered across the countryside and in the midst of the fire there was laughter to drown out cries of misery for the lost souls of the nation because everything would be all right but there was so much hurt and sorrow and fear as the country was ravaged and ripped apart which was so painful like a searing hot knife slashing into his body and being slowly twisted against his heart and the tears slithering down his face like never ending rivers as wave upon wave of sadness was battered upon his mind in a torrential rainfall as those he cherished and sacrificed so much for who he had wanted to keep safe and alive because he loved them so much too much there they were fading away and leaving him there alone in the darkness with nothing but a dull numbing throb and a heavy shattering silence.

"Ivan?" Violet eyes snapped open, his head jerking straight as he stared into Francis' dark blue orbs. The flamboyant man sighed, a gentle smile gracing his face. "Come now, mon cher. You are stronger than this, are you not?"

Ah, that was just like Francis. Never dithering, never restrained. He would not baby Ivan, and for that the Russian man was grateful.

"Da, you are right, lyubimy." He stood up straighter, composing himself properly and staring blankly at the ground. The blonde before him laughed whole-heartedly, leaning forward with his hands behind his back, a mischievous yet tender grin spreading across his face.

"It is alright, mon amour. Memories tend to creep up on us when we least expect them to. But you must remember," the Frenchman assured, a gloved hand drawn up to rest on Ivan's cheek, "- the past is behind you. Never look back, unless you are planning to go that way."

More laughter bubbled from the French man as he swirled on heel, arms gesturing wide to the world around him as he continued walking forward.

"And look! It is clean and bright and beautiful." Ivan inhaled sharply, for indeed, Francis was correct. The sky was a white flurry of snow, a soft blanket covering the ground in thick layers of sleet. The lamp posts glowed like bright fireflies in the winter wonderland, a row of light guiding them down the pathway. Fluff had been iced across the bare tree branches, covering the knotted black wood with lacy white, turning the stark crippled arms into pale frosted ivory.

There was no blood, there were no screams - there was only peace, only tranquility. And the blinding smile that illuminated his world.

The Russian broke into a joyful grin. It was not one of childlike innocence, nor one of unsettling indifference. He strolled after the blonde ambling before him, reaching out and tugging the cascade of hair.

"Ah!" Francis cried out in surprise, slipping backwards into the warm hold of the man behind him. Large arms wrapped around his waist as Ivan nuzzled his face into the crook of his pale neck.

"Ya tebya lyublyu," he whispered, breath tickling the mans ear with a light caress. A content sigh came in reply as the European leaned into his embrace.

"Je taime, mon coere."